In My Words

You assumed it was her head atop
the way our heads are. Assumed too
because you’ve heard an octopus can solve

puzzles, do more tricks than even dogs can do,
that there was a great brain swelling that bulbous shape.
But no, the expert tells you. The octopus begins

with the body, in which she harbors her three hearts
among other vital organs. The head, in fact,
is found farther down, a brain wrapped

round her throat and between two oversized eyes
that protrude to either side above eight flailing arms.
Flailing arms with suction cups that touch

and feel but also taste preferred prey
before drawing them into a mouth hidden in, well,
her armpit. Which is to say, you had it all wrong. Again.

So smug, so sure you could tell by the way they looked
or could tell, say, by the sound of their voice
whether to smile or turn away. Leading again

with the head instead of the body, thinking,
thinking your way toward the other,
instead of opening a door in the only

heart you have, and reaching
with even one arm, one open hand
to touch – and taste.