O. marginatus

- - -

Hydrostatic pressure defines the pulsing shape
of an octopus. marginatus dwells among sunken
coconuts, more than 50 feet deep, hiding
sometimes in their shells by drawing two halves around
its body. When faced with danger, it wraps six arms=
around itself and backpedals away on a pair, camouflaged,

innocent coconut bob-bobbing along. Camouflaged,
eluding predators with admirable stealth—shape-
shifter—the suckered treads of its fluid-filled arms
rolling slowly over ocean bottom, past sunken
shipwrecks, intrusive snorklers who dive around
the coastline of Indonesia. What glorious hiding,

so utterly naked and in open sight! Such stealthy hiding
can excite, though, really, the ingenious camouflage
of marginatus is stereotyped, an inherent moving around
requiring no feedback from the brain. The shape,
color, not more than an oblivious twitch of nerves, sunken
coconuts a coincidence of seascape to which it adjusts. Armed

only with primal behavior coded into the ganglia of each arm,
it could care less about the potential thrill of its hiding.
Ignorance, if not bliss. I’m looking hard at my face: sunken
blue eyes, tidal drift of hairline, the graying camouflage
of a beard. My fantasies are all about being in better shape,
anxious moments spent realizing that I’ve been floating around

a very long time. Every creature in the food chain is surrounded
by gourmands and midnight snackers, swollen armies
of gluttonous neighbors whose grotesque shapes
mirror the intensity of their desire. Here I am, hiding
out in the flotsam of suburbia. I’m camouflaged
as pocket lint, later as a soul who knows how low to sink,

how thrilling it is to buoy among windfallen coconuts. At the kitchen sink,
I’m preparing octopus while a lover seems still around
to enjoy it; she’s curled up on the sofa, camouflaged:
comfy bolster, shadow. I could hold her in my arms.
Remove ink sac, eyes, and teeth. Clean well. “Oh, hide
from me, will you?” Place in a pot; simmer till tender. “Oh, shapely,

shapely. Sunken treasure; seductress.” Cut the eight arms
into bite-sized pieces
. Around every corner, she’s hiding there.
In the coconut cream, camouflaged, roiling, assuming another shape.