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Poet Eats the Octopus from a Customer’s Left-over Plate of Stone-Fruit-and-Octopus Salad:

                and thinks,
         I did not know what stone fruit were until moving out of my dark, solitary cave
         into sunshine culture of this affluent beautiful town where everyone orders cocktails
         and wine (why, that is why you learned what stone fruit were) with every meal, every
         time they too come out of their sunshine caves; theirs though coming out to feed;
which seems often
                    because she begins to recognize which guests after spending $180, and $180,
tip her $36, and even $45 if she wears her hair real nice.
They are also called drupes—
                    fruits with large stones inside them—no, you dupe, the stone is not the seed;
the seed is inside of the stone, inside of the pit, inside of the peach, plum, nectarine, mango,
raspberries though, they are made of drupelets, different, because those are
little drupes, more than one drupe                 you see
this octopus tastes like tears and steak. It is prepared and molded by kitchen hands into three
circular spring tins, like flat patty-cakes and is plated neatly, only delicately unfolding like a
pretty purple sea flower once you agitate its coiled arms with a gentle prod of a fork’s silver
tines. Don’t worry, it’s been dead a while. Don’t worry, what we mean is, it died recently and is
dead and cooked while on your plate but is hence still fresh, which is why it tastes like the
good kind of tears,
                                    and maybe also because this thing was lonely and smart but did
not know it was lonely in its cave because it was so smart, like you would have been if you’d
have stayed and not come out to meet the world or its loves and taste this thing that tastes
like you, knowing too, you would do it again.


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Katie Walker received her MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California where she was a Composition Fellow and Graduate Student Lecturer. She is interested in the adaptations of language politically, socially, and environmentally and seeks to explore the junction where commonality is reached through the mundane as much as the bizarre. She resides and writes from El Cerrito, California.