the bold interpreter—300 million years
         of cephalopods
                  spewing ink
         for concealment—for poison or healing
for refuge. Plumes across the depths—
which is to say; Dearest F,
         I made so many notes today
                 in my mind—as if at backyard target practice;
         —aiming sloppy at the heart of it in passing
hoping that something might stick, or transfer
        but no—not without ink—
                  the go-between.
                              Tell me, my love
                   about your ink.
         Tell me about mine.
Heart to blued fingers
​        to grooved paper—or wood—or canvas
​​                  could be skin—the pygmy
​        octopus glowing in the depths
disgorging a pseudomorph of ink
        —a fantastic doppelgänger—conjured
                   from ejections—used to mislead
        the predator.

Donna Spruijt-Metz is psychology professor, poet, and recent MacDowell Fellow. Her poetry appears in Copper Nickel, RHINO, Poetry Northwest, the Tahoma Literary Review, the Inflectionist Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks are ‘Slippery Surfaces’ and ‘And Haunt the World’ (with Flower Conroy). Her full length ‘General Release from the Beginning of the World’ is forthcoming (2023, Free Verse Editions). Her website is