Deposited by the Super Moon in a Miami Parking Garage, the Octopus Finds a Drain


Submerged mop head with three hearts, it can squeeze in wherever its beak can fit— like the first person singular, a natural limit. Its sentient suckers are little moons that pull their ten-pound tide rippling through the pipe. Its wind sock arms snake out the other side. Like the tongue it only seems liquid, only seems it’s not what it is, a series of little steps. How long does it take to change your circumstances, your whereabouts, shape and color? A bead of mercury, the octopus is falling where the drain empties over the sea, falling even as it’s arriving, head, beak, and eyes in waves. By increments the octopus deposits what it saves. It doesn’t pose for any pictures; as soon as it’s out it’s gone, dropped out like afterbirth, like paint squeezed out from the moon. In the night’s ink we lose it. Other tides rise to their feet, as the moon rolls around the arena and the waves sit back down in their seats.

Originally from Alabama, AUSTIN SEGREST teaches at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. His poems appear in The Yale Review, The Threepenny Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Ecotone, and others. This fall he will be a Provincetown fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center.