Mary Szybist

The Lushness of It

It’s not that the octopus wouldn’t love you—
not that it wouldn’t reach for you
with each of its tapering arms:

you’d be as good as anyone, I think,
to an octopus.  But the creatures of the sea,
like the sea, don’t think

about themselves, or you.  Keep on floating there,
cradled, unable to burn.  Abandon
yourself to the sway, the ruffled eddies, abandon

your heavy legs to the floating meadows
            of seaweed and feel
                        the bloom of phytoplankton, spindrift, sea-
spray, barnacles.  In the dark benthic realm, the slippery neckton glide over
the abyssal plains: as you float, feel
                                    that upwelling of cold, deep water touch
the skin stretched over
                          your spine.  Feel
fished for and slapped.  No, it’s not that the octopus
wouldn’t love you.  If it touched,

if it tasted you, each of its three
hearts would turn red.

Will theologians of any confession refute me?
Not the bluecap salmon.  Not its dotted head.

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review