Mariners call them devil fish,
noting the eerie symmetry
of those nervy serpentine arms.
They resemble nothing so much
as a man's cowled head and shoulders.
Mostly they are sessile, and shy
as monsters, waiting in rock clefts
or coral for a swimming meal.
They have long since abandoned their
skulls to the depths, and go naked
in this soft element, made of
a brain-sac and elephant eye.
The tenderness of their huge heads
makes them tremble at the shameful
intimacy of the killing
those ropes of sticky muscle do.
Females festoon their cavern roofs
with garlands of ripening eggs
and stay to tickle them and die.
Their reproductive holocaust
leaves them pallid and empty. Shoals
of shad and krill, like sheet lightning,
and the ravenous angelfish
consume their flesh before they die.
This is the last octopus post, and I have found that the more I've learned about these sea-dwelling cephalopods, the more I'm fascinated by them. I've already described them as having the intelligence of a dog, but some experts would go further and compare them to primates. They are shy and curious, predator and prey. I enjoyed writing the story of Neiroketo, and her life cycle has inspired me to use her as a jumping off point for a science fiction story. Maybe one day if I'm lucky, I'll find someone to publish that as well. I'll leave you now with a few pictures of octopuses and other denizens of the deep.
Caribbean Reef Squid
Island with coral reef
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
A baby octopus starts its life....