October 5, 2021

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin
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? 

***

Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens

Katy Scrogin is a Chicago-based writer and editor whose most recent work has been featured in the Eastern Iowa ReviewCapsule StoriesSobotka Literary Magazine, and Punt Volat. She can also be found at katyscrogin.wordpress.com and Walking the Wire

Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens
#architeuthis dux#childhood#earthquakes#katy scrogin#poetry
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