Kara Dorris

Why I Could Be An Octopus

We eat our arms when bored

Our arms are sucker-covered                    with stalagmites & want

We spit paralyzing venom when tasting what we touch

We have blue blood & three hearts

Our neurons are in our triceps & forearms               not our heads

Only some of us have been seen using tools

We use coconut shells like mobile homes & open childproof bottles in less than five minutes

We change color in three-tenths of a second

Like to mimic undersea objects & reach into small glasses

Our mouths center our limbs

We are boneless & expulse inky threats

Sex is a death sentence

Males arm with sperm & after birth females live cellular suicide

Some of us prefer to crawl—if we swim too fast, the organ delivering blood stops

We siphon, expelling water & breath, live                      in abyssal depths

Kara Dorris is the author of two poetry collections: Have Ruin, Will Travel (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and When the Body is a Guardrail (2020). She has also published five chapbooks: Elective Affinities (dancing girl press, 2011), Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012), Sonnets from Vada’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair (dancing girl press, 2018), Untitled Film Still Museum (CW Books, 2019), and Carnival Bound [or, please unwrap me] (The Cupboard Pamphlet, 2020). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, I-70 Review, Southword, Rising Phoenix, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Hayden Ferry Review, Tinderbox, Puerto del Sol, The Tulane Review, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her prose has appeared in Wordgathering, Breath and Shadow, Waxwing, and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). She earned a MFA in creative writing at New Mexico State University and a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor of English at Illinois College. For more information, please visit karadorris.com.

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