I Will Never Eat Pulpo—

the ghostly shell
of the octopus
upon a plate
readied for consumption
by those of us more cruel
than those of us
who revere her
in her cephalopodial glory.

The octopus sees you
as you come toward
with prongs of destruction
and tastes your craving—

Our inks distinguish us—
hair, and skin, and suction,
the melanins of our creation.

I will never eat pulpo—
I will, instead, worship her
with the elevation of propulsion,
and speak softly to her statocysts.


Postcard To The Octopus

It is of utmost importance
that I come to see you. You are certainly
owed a visit, owed my eyes attentive to yours.
We two are trembling trees,
holistic practitioners of how girls
and creatures should hold their hands.
There are stripes in your skin,
fractiling on the surface, wrapping
bars around my wrists.
If you pressed down into the sand,
would you feel your own pulse, the
heartbeat of too much to breathe?


The Tentacle

The reach of the tentacle
is far, is an extension of a body
that defies explanation, confounds
the sciences, stretches across the seas.

The touch of the tentacle
is a gift, little plates sucking
the skin, forming rings of connection,
bonding beast to bestial.

I inked your tentacle
to my body, indelling your spirit
into the parts of me that matter most—
the tightly held canvas pulled over my bones.

The tentacle, my totem, holds
all of me in its grasp, may scoop me
into the beak of its mouth, envelop me
with a twin-toned grace.

LANA DEAN HELM is an alumnus of the University of Louisville and went on to obtain her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. She is an English professor at Ivy Tech Community College and has an obsession with the octopus. Find her online as @lanadeanhelm