With no internal shell you keep
yourself together in a sac
& the matter of attachment.
All you know you know by touch; shape,
texture, and scale you draw into
the mouth of every flowering cup.
From pit to tip the suckers spring.
Each flicker of skin crisscrossing
your path a chance to make contact,
a chance to draw a body not
your own into your care, or spread
out into theirs. The emptiness
you know you’ve labored to transpose.
Your vacuum sets their course, carries
these objects of desire toward
your hearts so that they hold; hemmed in
in eight soft limbs and the borders
of concavities, folded fast.
The things that cling can’t always be
predicted—slivers of mirror,
bits of bone, curls, keys, a toy gun.
Attachment: is it grace or grasp?
All things unknown familiar in
the peeling off & letting go.
Panicked, with inky melanin
you make a slipstream to get free
or make autotomy an art
rewriting your anatomy.
Camouflage has failed, mimicry
cannot hold off attack. Scoring
your arms with incisions those claws.
Whose cuts are these? Who bruises, chews
at your skin, initiates this
severing? You watch it detach,
float away from you. Coppered blood
infuses the already blue.
Self-sabotage, the first and last
stage of collage, the cutting up
without the glue. The bitten limb
goes unattached, but is renewed.
You didn’t know you knew the art
of self-repair until alone
those hundred days, watching something
grow. New cups bloom the length of you;
mouths opening by small degrees.
The whipping fins can be withstood,
the gripping jaws. All that issues
from the deep, in all likelihood.