You’ll start with a terrific love,

and later replace it with a merely serviceable love,

but cheaper.

There was no plesiosaur

but there was a kronosaur.


When you swim the central channel

your stellate ganglion remembers its jaws

and the alarm shocks down the mantle.

Now you know what it’s like to be prey.


Up ashore there are rote chants

on oak pews.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest

To give and not to count the cost

To fight and not to heed the wounds

To toil and not to seek for rest

To labor and not to ask for any reward

save that in knowing that we do thy will


Tough syntax for a cephalopod.

You can’t stop seeking rest

or leave off worrying the ragged margin.


The wounds of their teeth

the teeth in the jaw

the jaw in the glass case in the dead zoo.


If I serve thee as thou deservest—

But I have only and ever served thee as thou deservest.


You see,

our margin is excellent

and your compliance is not, in any case,