“…twisting in the water, you’re just like a dream…”

Just above the wild boar on the south nave of Washington National Cathedral are several smaller gargoyles and grotesques. Without binoculars or a zoomable camera, you might easily stroll by without ever noticing them, but it’s worth stopping in front of the garden and looking up. The most interesting critters aren’t about to clamber down to you, however much some of them may in fact desire to do so.

AN OCTOPUS REAPPRAISES HER LOBSTER

I hear the hot breath of the lobster I love;
The trees wilt below us; there’s nothing above.
You snore and I shudder, for sleepless I know
The oath of adventure we swore long ago:

“Between us, our limbs number eighteen in all;
Let’s creep from this tank and slip over the wall
And forever be free! Let’s aspire to perch
On a spire of our own on the loftiest church.”

You clawed at my tentacle, tender and green,
Like the first awkward kiss of a king and his queen.
You scuttled, I swam; through the garden we went.
Where grass gripped the stones, we began our ascent.

A lobster lives long, as no octopus can,
But a lobster has in him but one perfect plan.
I longed for longevity; no girl expects
To ask of her lobster, “So what happens next?”

You curl up contentedly, dreaming of me;
I cling to my cornice and scarcely feel free.
“I won’t let you down,” you once vowed, and I sighed.
I love that you’re honest; I wish you had lied.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tag.)

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