Cephalopod and
Star and Sea
My right hand is a starfish,
with rough skin, an ability
to anchor itself that looks like stubbornness,
radial symmetry --- equal, opposing digits,
like contradictory beliefs ---
and a mouth in its palm. What it desires
it changes --- keeps in a pitiless grip
and absorbs. If I lose a finger,
it simply grows back.

My left is an octopus,
changeable, malleable, graceful and clever.
Its fingers twine and twirl apart
like thoughts that tangle
but never make trustworthy knots.
It's able to creep through keyholes, wield small implements
shiver its colors to blend with any surface,
seize eight things at once, then leave them
under a small dark cloud.

They were not happy together at the piano;
they like the cello, the left one sidling
up and down ebony while the right one
governs a rod of command.
They have learned to applaud, they consent
to wash each other, but when they clasp,
either or both may go white at the knuckles,
red at the tips. They do agree
that they sail a cantankerous ocean,

its weather skittish, currents shifty,
coral reefs cracked and mended.
Excitable cuttlefish relay itches and cravings,
awash at times in oil spills,
sugar spills. Not to mention
the sac of heavenly blue afloat in my head,
trailing long wrinkled stinging nerves
down my spine. Not to mention
the bullheaded whale in my chest.

From --- Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower
Sarah Lindsay
©2013 Copper Canyon Press
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