The Cuttlefish


The cuttlefish has no skull

and three hearts

so it must camouflage

The cuttlefish has three hearts

but no backbone

to survive it must dazzle

unveil electric skin, myriad intersecting

iridescences, an ever unspooling
film of itself―

a screen that is a mirror
that is a screen―

The cuttlefish has three hearts

but no skill

a mouth hidden inside its mouth

& teeth on its tongue

to survive you

it must dazzle, use subterfuge

leave song and self

unbidden swirl

off its

inky skin





The cuttlefish flounce
sea anemone mouth
tendrils of tongue are afloat

in a liquid nowhere

as a hand appears ex-machina
silverfish dropped from pincers―

vanquished by one lightning flash

it has teeth on its tongue you tell me

my eye is fixed
on the water-level
above or below
worlds that are
not quite mirror

when you love one
you love them all

something about the tender avidity

of my dog’s dark gaze,
his directional ears, and whiskers

reminds me of the waterbound leaps of the penguins
quicksilver swallows in air

my dog smacks his lips
when we talk
humans eat air
he must wonder about that

back in the tank,
we learn of the lost eye
of the fish, painted
near the tail
and designed to fool predators

not to know
if we’re coming or going



Black & White


in my front yard is a white horse

in my backyard is a black crow

in the front tree is a black plastic wing

torn from somewhere I don’t know

in the backyard is a white plastic

chair, marking the spot

legs in the air

in a backward glance

is a white cat

weaving through legs

at every pass

the black cat crows

the black plastic blows

the white horse gets sold

the white plastic chair

lies upside down

marks the spot in the air

where the tree will grow




Vasiliki Katsarou’s poems have appeared in Contemporary American Voices, Poetry Daily, Noon: Journal of the Short Poem, Regime Journal, wicked alice, Literary Mama, Wild River Review, as well as a number of anthologies. Her first collection, Memento Tsunami, was published in 2011. She read her work at the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry festival in the United States. Her website is