jen durbent: Writer, Comedian

The Perils of Cuttlefish Ownership

Header for Poem.

The whorls and mountains of fingerprints are made
from chocolate pudding and are days old
on the TV screen.

The little daughter responsible
is asleep in the next room over, dreaming
of princesses and purple. Those same small hand prints
are on the tank
of the panicked cuttlefish, who inked a black and blue
cloud like something out
of a Delillo novel, a manifestation, something ill defined.

I plop into the chair, sitting on a remote control,
turn on the TV and static fills the screen,
canceling the show of fingerprints and bumping up ratings of
white noise.

Interlaced video;
and I remember static after Israel, a friend, not a country,
turned off Super Mario Brothers on an old Nintendo.
My friend blew out the insides of the huge gray cartridges, dust
being a bitter enemy against 8-bit fidelity. Then we went out to the
railroad bridge, something right out of the movie
Stand By Me, the betamax video we secreted out of a parents
room just last night.

The river seemed too far below, like when I look up at stars and think about scale.

My sockless foot slipped between the railroad ties,
blue second hand sneaker falling down
and I never heard the splash.
Is it too obvious to say I did hear laughter?

When we got back to land, I had to ride
my bike home with the metal pedal
in my foot.

It's time to clean the invertebrate's tank.