I – limbs
this is how it feels to be boneless
to slide over ground, only muscle
but when I lie down, bone-heavy,
each line draws a human body on the bed
how wild to still feel tired after days of rest,
how wild to still/have a racing brain
watching it walk, each step a lash
a soft curl unfurls along long limbs
that is not how I move anymore
not today, at least, not now
something is in my heart, or my nerves
something slows and numbs, I tremble
doctors will come with offerings
I already hold open and still
whole creatures live this slowly
cycles of torpor, breath, collapse
II – mantle, with contents
I used to think diagnosis inevitable,
to think all wrong things detectable
and known. Certainty has passed
through my organs transformed.
Something as soft and malleable
as an octopus has a hard, sharp
beak somewhere in the supple.
You can’t see it from here. But
there it is, and venom (call it
poison) spreads the same whether
or not you watch. Know what bit.
I’ll see a heart specialist next week.
I wonder if she knows which
tender set of cells grows itself
three hearts: one for each set
of gills, and one for the rest
of everything. There are not
second and third hearts
powering my lungs. She knows
that already, before meeting.
What will she and my body
say to each other in that office?
I’ve become more afraid, leave
trails of ink wherever I go.
III – (it’s not all in your) head (but it’s there too)
You look last at my eyes. We meet them so rarely these days.
You know what it is to be sick like this, a body full of
thresholds and tipping points. Too many people
I love are sick. From when we didn’t die. A
radula is a rasp, is a ribbon. In octopuses,
balance is fluid floating in fluid. This is
older than two summers. Roots in
the brain, the nervous system.
Your life hides in your soft
shell. Ripples (quiet). No
one knows what’s
Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True is traveling throughout the state holding public readings and events. Find an event near you.