Octopus Inc. – A Poem by Steve McOrmond w/Images by Robert Frede Kenter

IceFloe Press


At the San Francisco aquarium,
the celebrity inmate is in maximum

security lockdown. A serial
escapist, he keeps giving them the slip.

Neuroplasticity to the nth degree,

each limb a multi-tool, a career

burglar’s bump key that his jailors
can’t bed check away, he pours

himself into the water circulation system,
sensing his path through the maze

of inlet and outlet pipes, probing
by trial and error, for the real bay.


The octopus is an offshore corporation,
a shadowy network of subsidiaries,
its governance hard to fathom.

Directives come down from HQ
but the details of their execution
are at the individual limbs’ discretion.

Cut one off (it will grow back),
the severed appendage shrinks
from the scalpel and slithers away.

If it meets something it considers
food, it will seize it, try to deliver

the morsel to where the mouth –
not unlike a parrot’s beak –…

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