“Poor Pitiful Little Thing” – A Poem by Andrew Williford

Embers break apart, spark.


Again. And again. And a

flame, singeing my hands.

Bright red and black.

Plop-lop from beneath me.

The squid squirms,

not trying to escape, but

not trying to stay either.

Its tentacles merely poke

their tips out of the water.

My eyes settle.

Pitiful thing.

My footsteps tap against the

stalactites and stalagmites,

my coughs bouncing from

one wall to the next.

My lips and throat crunch around the smoke.

Ploup-clo-ap from behind me.

I turn. The poor fucker and

its little condom-shaped head

rise out of the water, standing

on boneless legs, until

it doesn’t. It squishes against the floor,

and lies there,

its slimy, silvery skin pulsating.

My eyes rest on it again.

My steps crunch and clap

around the walls.

I don’t know what I’m

walking into, what the shadows hide,

but the embers just under my nose

show me enough.

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