Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Wisdom of the Octopus

the octopus in his glass cage hides in the corner,
clinging to shadows, and tries not to feel

the pummeling of small hands on the side of his house
and the eyes seeking him, begging him
to bare himself, to expand himself -

to be the version they know from documentaries
and library books about creatures of the deep but

that octopus does not live here in this tank
by this concrete coral reef. it cannot live here.

in the midnight hours he practices the art of escape.
one day, he will slide over glass down grates
through pipes and finally to swell into his ocean’s waves:

he is renewed as he propels himself though her currents,
diving deeply. she runs every drop of herself
over him in celebration of his return.

the rippling suction of his every arm pulses
against her, through her, within her in longing to grasp –
but it is she who holds him.

as he settles into the cloak of her depths he disappears,
his freedom found in the opaque darkness of his home.

~Abby Williams, copyright 2017

About the Poem: I couldn't get this photo out of my head. I intended to write a poem that simply sexualized the octopus and imagined the shared sensations between it and the model. Instead, it became a metaphor for wanting to be the comfort and safety for Mr. W when he's having a rough day and feels trapped at work. I hope he always thinks of his place in my arms as both his freedom and his home. There's also an element of encouragement about breaking away from who we are expected to be, about knowing that acting the part isn't a way to truly live.

Photo: Anna and Barney, Untitled. Appears on page 73 of Hot Cheeks edited by Martin Sigrist, Edition Skylight, 2003


  1. That is a very interesting pic. I think your take on the poem was very unique. Good job!

  2. That was so beautifully written. And so captivating.


Your comments mean so much to me. Say hi, share thoughts, opinions, or just your info - I'm happy to add your spanking blog to my blogroll.