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

by Austin Segrest

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 ReviewThe Threepenny ReviewNew England ReviewPloughsharesEcotone, and others. This fall he will be a Provincetown fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center.