My Octopus Orphan and My Wolf Sister
My Octopus Orphan
thinks his suction cups are radios.
He presses them to his head and
it’s always Ma playing on AM,
Father on FM. His eyes turn inward,
and he buries himself in the sand.
When the cephalopod sonogram
comes back, it shows his poison sac is
choc-a-block and leaking internally,
his ink sac predictably empty after
the hundreds of gloomy telegrams
with which he’s muddied the walls
of his glass world. I know it’s an aquarium
cliché, but I buy him a tricked-out
shipwreck from Goldfish Utopia.
Sometimes he squashes himself inside,
leaving only his hard beak on deck
and the only way to lure him out
is with his favorite snack of snails.
He sure knows how to look lonely.
Though I hold it in the water long
enough, he never takes my hand.
He understands: There was the sea, then me.
My Wolf Sister
When my hole-punch drizzles tiny paper circles onto the carpet, my wolf sister moans and bites the carpet, covering her ears with her paws. I think she’s tired of the moon. She takes a stack of dinner plates from my cupboard and slinks off to the park to break them. Our brother shows up a week later, collapses on the sofa like a fur throw. Why have they come here when everything I do is wrong? They howl in the shower together but the water doesn’t mask the sound. I go in afterwards with paper towels to mop the droplets—I know there’ll be water all over—but the room is bone-dry. Maybe this time things will be different. I hide the home movies in case they ask for them. There’s some wobbly footage of the sky, then my father lowers the camera’s eye to mother teaching my sister and brother to “tell time.” They’re following a mother hare on her sunset rounds—one leveret mouthful at 12 o’clock, another at 3, 6 and 9. Then the camera zooms in on me—I’ve spat out my pacifer made of fur and I’m on the porch surrounded by bonsai trees, killing or saving Barbie.