Back to Issue Eleven.




Through your navel, the sound
of the ocean opens, a cave’s convex

darkness. Inside, a world
of Hokusai prints, octopuses

sprawled suggestively on the rocks.
Now we are both stars in each other’s

wet dream. Shake the salt
from your hair, flip off the camera.

Whatever comes natural.
I’m fine just fishing with a pair

of rough-cut hands, the delicious
gonads of sea urchins. All the better

for future stars of the Pacific
Theater, no longer encumbered

by war, its garish sound effects.
Blood. Now is a time for romance,

comedy, maybe even a little
catharsis. Or a story set to bamboo

flute about a Chinese man, dressed
as a woman, stabbing himself to ease

his anguish, for loving the sort of white
man who only lusts after travel,

who goes home to Europe promising
to return, when he is really saying

these are the roles we were born to play.
It’s a pure sacrifice, playing them.


Tory Adkisson lives in Seattle with his two cats. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as Third Coast, Colorado Review, 32 Poems, Boston Review, Drunken Boat, Best New Poets, and elsewhere.

More by Tory Adkisson: 
Lusus Naturae,” Poetry, Issue Eleven.