Home > Poetry > Octopoda Is the Scientific Name of the Octopus
Published: Sun Oct 1 2023
Eva Lin Fahey, 50 Stars Gained (detail), 2021, watercolor and acrylic on paper
Online 2023 Mysteries Nature Journeys
Octopoda Is the Scientific Name of the Octopus

A crocodile can’t stick its tongue out.
Froot Loops are all the same flavour.
It’s impossible to hum while holding your nose.
How many of these facts did you know?
The world is a wondrous place where terrible things
can exist simultaneously 
without it imploding. In another,
I’m dead instead of my father.
Did he turn to poetry to cope with his grief?
Or Khmer is my mother tongue.
Or I’m not a poet, but an actor
fluent in Portuguese instead of Spanish.
In a distant universe, I’m a cartoonist.
I didn’t slip a disk in my back by vacuuming,
but from skydiving. I didn’t sprain my ankle
getting off the bus, stepping into a crack, 
but tumbled into a sinkhole and broke my arm. What if,
in a multiverse, all of these facts are true?
I did speak to that pro wrestler, Adam Bomb, on the plane, 
got his autograph rather than chickening out. 
Dad is still alive and sledding with his grandkids,
hollering to Mom to snap a photo 
while they squeal with joy.
In my world, these are untruths
I create with my pen or the clack of a keyboard.
Bringing the dead to life.
Isn’t that a kind of magic?
Octopuses have three hearts. 
A portal for a potential multiverse.
There are some 300 species of octopuses
found in every ocean. Do you feel it too?
In the sparkling and dark possibilities
of universes branching out,
a cosmic octopus swims through oblivion.


Next up in the portfolio: “Mars Rover Appears to Catch ‘Dark Beast’ Roaming the Surface” by Sarah Audsley

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Letters to Omma—Reunion
Online 2023 Nature Loss Journeys
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Greg Santos is the author of Ghost Face (DC Books, 2020) and several other poetry collections. He is editor-in-chief of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s carte blanche magazine. A transracial Cambodian adoptee of Portuguese and Spanish heritage, he lives in Montreal, Quebec, with his family. linktr.ee/gspoet (10/2023)

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