Squid Poems by Madeline Weiss and an Image by Jillian Chaitin



squid 1
Gouache and ink on paper by Jillian Chaitin


There is the soft glow of a giant squid eye lighting up the left of me. I am knocked out of the

orbit of the world when it blinks and I become a freezing gust of glitter, extended among the

maritime blizzard. A squid body extends and collapses. I am the body of a person, relaxing in a

mirror and heavy stressed in front of it.

I have all my jelly bones dripped across the rock of a reef. I have lost dexterity and courage in

my fingers, am I becoming a squid person?

I sound deranged and digested in the terrible acoustic of the very deep sea

where the dark around me conducts an invertebrate hum.

My eyes are much too small for the ocean.

I am a bad squid person with inadequate legs and the

desperation for warm water and bulging doll eyes.



I hide from the ocean in a cave during a hurricane, consider:

I could be an aquarium

the squid cannot be trusted

is there any such thing as art when there is total darkness

In the freezing black of the very deep ocean I can remember the feelings of whales

and their screeches that remind me of my crooked legs

the yellow parts of one of my toenails.

In total blackness, I scrape my arms against the walls of rocks

hope to infect myself with the perfect worms that rise and fall

with the tides of the ocean without my own will or anything I wanted.

My insignificance is floating among an island of garbage

the echoes of my sad human body that drips like the ugly parts of a squid.



I keep a fish with jagged teeth very near me all the time.

He speaks to me in dark purple, he is often impossible to hear.

He swims across my soaking skin and reminds me that at the surface

the tide continues to wash weeds and garbage on the shore.

He reminds me of the feeling of being covered in sand.

He hides with me, a monster with an ugly mouth.

Outside of the sea cave where I float, he glows bioluminescent and

shows me that the area around me is free and clear.

I am very much in love with this fish.

I use his glowing body to scrawl it upon the wall of a cave

where it’s too dark to see it without him.



When a monster sighs the world has all of the air let out of it.

I have crawled up to a forest of eels.

I am truly the opposite of myself.

I left my small monster in the wreck of a ship.

The captain is verbose and often drunk; the shell of his boat is undisturbed and floating with the

help of

some satanic devil that vibrates the floor of the ocean

the floor of the world; a satanic she-devil and her children have wrapped their hair ropes around

the pathetic captain who walks about the caverns of his ship.

I hold an acrylic bouquet of weeds and far away from the shipwreck I am tearing apart an eel and

counting its insides until my hands are speared by the jagged teeth of a monster.



My mouth is a cannon when I’m near you.

My skin is the pages of you.

I peel apart your eel skin.

You are closer to shore and I want to dissolve myself on your tongue.

I will swallow all the parts of you that are irrational.

the childhood art of your home

the chewable Tylenol of girls who you love

the shapes that moved in your trees and

tumbled your big insides

me on a patio in the sun holding your face to my stomach

me considering the strokes of your body

the parts of you which I own for now

the parts of your eyes covered in every crowded room.

I have negated all of these parts of you;

Underneath my bed I have your wicker chairs

your secret cakes

every soft unpolished part of you

the squid eyes of you.


Madeline Weiss is a writer from the Pittsburgh area. Her work is published at Metazen and elsewhere, as well as forthcoming in Skydeer HelpkingShe says hi.

Jillian Chaitin lives in NYC with her husband, where she works as an artist, illustrator, and partner at Cabin Modern NY. You can see more of her work at Jillianchaitin.com and cabinmodernny.com