Today's poem is by Nicky Beer

Octopus Vulgaris

The tank bubbles intermittently,
but there is no tide to sway her into grace.
Turn, and in your peripherals there's

            a sudden flex, a time-lapse lily blossoming
into your blind spot. Trebled, as if by volition,
now spread against almost the entirety
of the glass, she obscures her habitat and commands

you to the entirety of herself, her selftossed
            parachute of cream and coral.

But no—she can never know fully the spectacle
            of her fullest extension, her underside
a mystery only glimpsed in walleyed glance,
rather than the awesome totality now

riveting you before the tank's illumined peep show,
overshadowing the static girandoles
of attendant anemone and starfish.

blooded, three-hearted hedonist, she arches
            into Gehry porticoes against the thick plate
                        addled by green neon, plots for the hour
when she'll heave herself out during the night

            shift, gorge herself on the neighboring scallop
Admit it—her splay and sprawl
            has made you blush. Just looking,
                        you think, as if such an enterprise
were safe, as if she were not
            the pupil-Pandora she is,
            who can open a jar if only
            you'll teach her.

Copyright © 2014 Nicky Beer All rights reserved
from The Octopus Game
Carnegie Mellon University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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