Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens Before, we could believe in their innocence when they'd only seen us dead, another limp tendril of sea-culled debris delivered to dry land in those in-between hours when it was understood that nothing happened or arrived outside the boundaries of their serene dreams They had eons to build legends upon our pale still limbs to fill their need for fable with splayed gray membranes growing stale and sacred on the sand But now their truth-seekers know the cold-tingling thrill of penetration into deep-dwelling realms of untethered motion volition the stinging grasp of unstoried life. What now, my unarmed soul, now that they know? * It wasn’t until 2006 that humans finally saw a living Architeuthis dux, or giant squid. Until that point, the dead specimens washed up on beaches provided us plenty of fodder for horror stories. A Season in Childhood Summer came with peaches in trees Beneath the branches, the fallen fruits, the animal-claimed, moldered sweetly in the dirt where we sat in dusty circles of shade fuzz-covered and sticky with their itch If they could not die unmolested and whole they would strive at least for a legacy on our skin, beneath it, inside Our lips were the only dry things, chafed clean after every surge of slurping heads craned before bent bodies stiff arms aloft as juice spilled in spate on the ground clung and rushed over wrists and heedless toes until we tossed the clean pits into far rows of the earth that would reclaim them settling beside still-softening, bruised feasts fallen in grace for birds and bugs Local Tremors The thing about an earthquake zone is that for the vision-haunted, for the easily spooked, a shaking bed in darkest a.m. hours fails to chill the bones with thoughts of demons, of hair-raising unrealities conjured by the racing heart of self-involvement— is met instead with the sleepy poise of habit while real-world dreams, lives, real walls, crumble onto the sure and shuddering earth. Vocational Advice for a Future Self Next time I'll try to refrain from answering the call to hold racehorses to the ground to accept the rank challenge of regulating with nothing more than a handful of leather and a limited supply of soothing tones thoroughbred egos and nervous legs primed to take offense that leave oafish bipeds tumbling into hay and muck I'll try not to place myself among toned surfaces quick to object with a territorial flinch to the scared whisper of insignificant wings just wanting to cease their dumb buzzing for one merciful beat in time I'll try to reside among lumbering things knowing even so, this time around, to bring a whip. Every Time I Go Back to Texas All these antediluvian centipedes these roaches these six-inch things that scuttle under your clothes at night your blankets, that slide into your shoes your skin These shrinkable shape shifters pressed sliver-thin under doors through fissures unseen into orifices— yours—mine! Agents of pain, of wriggling nuisance planting next generations in a warm wet corner of me of—what am I? Only a vessel after all— a being for others never noticed? What squatters’ paradise, these guts and bone? Whose freedom do these sinews serve? Where am I in all this gristle?