I write something down for my future self. I
want it to change what my self does later.
I want it to make my future self know the past thought. Rude
time has a role in this.
It’s been me-now and me-then all along in a
Weird—the “then” can occupy a past or a future— (I was
a child then)
(Then when I’m a hundred I’ll hoot like an owl).
Now I’m writing, Write cephalopod poem.
Like a ﬁsh that sends itself a signal: This electrical output is from me! so it
doesn’t get confused by another ﬁsh’s message, mistake itself for
I’ll read those marks later and know what to do: Write cephalopod poem.
Or who I am, writing. I am signaling
to myself to get organized, just like cells tangled
up in trying to build a tentacle.
Here, I’ve written it. Cephalopod Poem. Along with everything else going
on inside you, it’s a memory
of the ﬁrst chemical kisses
not on earth, because earth didn’t exist yet when all
this kissing started.
Excerpted from Your Kingdom by Eleni Sikelianos. Copyright © 2022. Available from Coffee House Press.