Sunday, June 17, 2012

The sexual maturation of an octopus is controlled by an optical gland (called that only because it sits upon the optic nerve); this gland "shuts off" the desire to eat once an octopus, male or female, has mated.  And yes, octopi can change gender.  A female octopus will retreat to a cave to lay thousands of eggs: the numbers vary based on species.  The momma protects her eggs and keeps a constant current moving through them, and yes, dies when the eggs hatch.  It's universal that very few of the baby octopi will survive (on average, two will live to maturation).
It's almost better to be the octopus, he said,
when she cursed her son for moving
across the country.
But he thanked her for the cookies
and he loves her from afar
while she worries
that time is running out
for completion of general tasks
like weeding the garden
and solving the Republican government.
He, the speaker, writes about the attitudes
parents squeeze into their children,
like toothpaste in reverse.
He's a gentle Philip Larkin.
He intends better. 
He doesn't change.

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