From the Archive: Natalie Morrill (CAROUSEL 32)

Staff/ November 11, 2020/ Poem


Mrs. Fannie Winthrop, upon discovering that her husband is an octopus

But she decides she mustn’t let him think
it puts her off. She won’t throw the covers
off the thing, won’t draw undue attention, she,
to his way of slithering gellish out their front door
Monday to Friday, radio twittering, him waving
his hat — “Nice day, Fannie”: his grip
slicked rope, the hat a Knox. She bought it for him,

she remembers: his birthday, three years ago.
Reservations at Chez Piggy and he ordered
oysters. It made her blush. His tentacle in her
mouth — “Have a taste” — and later under the table
and under her skirt. (Married man — man in love!) Face
gone red (hers). She didn’t (did she?) guess,
then — no just took him, loved him. He is her only

love. Aren’t all men so? Slimy that way,
damp in their undershirts, damp in bed,
breath like ocean, cold skin? (The magazines
won’t say.) She thinks, It doesn’t matter. She thinks,
It does matter. (It doesn’t matter.) No one
knows. (Everyone knows?) No one. She touches
the things he touches most: the radio and

her jaw, underneath, left side. How he kisses
her there — every night, beaked, sucking,
hickeys down her chest belly arms round the back
of her neck (spotted like a bingo card come
morning) but she loves him, loves his love.
She won’t tell. She’ll keep him. Shuck oysters,
take long baths with him: secretest, luckiest she.

Natalie Morrill is an Ottawa-based writer who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her fiction and poetry have been published in Canadian journals and included in The Journey Prize anthology. The Ghost Keeper (Harper Collins, 2018), her first novel, won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction and the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction. Morrill is the fiction editor for Dappled Things and the former Writer-in-residence for the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA), an organization supporting members with lived experience of mental illness. She teaches literature and writing in a variety of post-secondary and community settings. More: here

Mrs. Fannie Winthrop, upon discovering that her husband is an octopus
appeared in CAROUSEL 32 (2014) — buy it here

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