On Cooking Krakens

On Cooking Krakens

by Julie Irigaray

The stalls of Italian markets
display four different
types of octopus and five
sizes of squids
with glassy eyes –
piteous nautilus
from Hokusai’s erotica.

I learned with practice how to
extract their entrails
without piercing the ink sac,
how to cut the cuttlefish’s
mantle to get the pen,
proud gladius raised against me.

I am not the fisherman’s wife
disarmed kraken,
there’s no need to resist
with your sharp beak
and your toy tentacles.

I discovered the squeeze
when one squishes the skin,
its plasticity once peeled –
What a strange appeal!
An opal ghost floats in the basin.

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Julie Irigaray’s work has appeared in various international publications such as Southword, Banshee (Ireland), Shearsman, Mslexia, Tears in the Fence, Envoi (UK) and The Ofi Press (Mexico), among others. She recently won third prize in the 2017 Winchester Writers’ Festival Poetry Competition and was shortlisted for The Yeovil Poetry Prize 2017 and The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016 (UK). After living in the south-west of France, Ireland, England and Italy, she is back to Paris.