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I know because she is me now and I,

I am her now, too, a perfect symbiosis.


We met at a fancy restaurant and she

was served to me on a porcelain dish, porcelain tentacles writhing,

a tiny thing.


Her pearl suckers clung to the slippery surface, desperate, and I nudged her

with my chopsticks, let her body wrap around them,


an embrace of collagen fibers and steel.


I felt sorry for her


I wanted to cradle her in my hands,

suckers and slime and all,

tell her in whatever language octopuses understand that I’d take her


home, put her in a tank, and feed her the most delicious mussels,

but you’re not supposed to feed your dinner



especially when an entire table of friends is watching.


So I brought her to my lips,

suckers and slime and all,


past my teeth, where she anchored herself to my tongue and my throat,


forced me to taste the sea and the sesame oil on her skin.

And then there she was,


her mind next to my mind, the two of us


thinking as one.


Sometimes I ask her if she misses her independence. If

she liked being alone, drifting in the ink of the deep ocean, because it sounds

nice, I think, really kind of nice.


I mean, I would be angry too if I had to leave the quiet.


She tells me maybe I am the one who’s truly missing it.

She tells me maybe I am the one who’s angry.


She takes our body to the sea, dips our limbs in the sand—I’ve

lost count. I only know we should have eight of them. We tread water and wear

sea foam as a second skin. We spit salt through cracked lips, swim


out into the waves,

and what does it matter now who missed it the most.