The Octopus and the Tyrant

by Karen Douglass

Octopus vulgaris, a carnivore, can
hide in plain sight by changing
his color and shape, emitting clouds
of black ink that dulls the sight
and sense of smell in his enemies.
Venomous saliva subdues his prey.

Vulgaris has three hearts and blue blood,
eight arms with 240 suckers each.
He turns red with anger, amasses
a fortune in shells to build a fortress
around his lair.  On the East Coast
a king tide has flushed an octopus
white with fright, out of the deep
into a cement-walled parking garage
stinking of motor oil and gasoline,
no sustenance there, no freedom,
only a sermon in salt water and sludge.