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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 164 words
By Patricia L. Scruggs

The Doorbell Rings

and there stands a Kraken 
			on two legs, 
	the other six curled under 
			like a skirt. 

He’s turned red from the cold. 
	What he’s doing this far inland beats me. 
				Plainly lost, or escaped from 
		someone’s aquarium. 

Flattening the back seat of the car, 
	I enjoy watching his fluid locomotion—
		push right	go left. 

Encouraged to ooze 
into the space, this soft, 
squishy body fills 
the entire compartment, 
tentacles overflowing 
onto the floor. 

He must be a juvenile, because a fully grown Kraken 
						would carry the car, 
					not fit inside. 

					I cover him with wet towels, 
		drive an hour to the beach, park next to the pier. 
Good thing it’s winter—
						not a lot of people. 

We wait until dark, 
					me splashing bottled water on him. 

When it’s safe, I open the car doors. 
				Before I can say anything, 
							he smells the ocean and is off, 
	flinging wet towels 
					in all 

			A quick wave of a tentacle, and he’s gone. 
Patricia L. Scruggs
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is the author of one poetry collection, Forget the Moon. Born in Denver, Colorado, she grew up in Alberta, Canada, where she often saw the Northern Lights in winter. When she was a teenager, her family relocated to Southern California where she has happily lived ever since.

Her poems have appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Calyx, Crab Creek Review, Cultural Weekly, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, The Lummox Journal, MacQueen’s Quinterly, ONTHEBUS, Rattle, RipRap, and Spillway, among others; as well as in these anthologies: 13 Los Angeles Poets, So Luminous the Wildflowers, and Beyond the Lyric Moment.

A recent Pushcart nominee, Patti earned her MFA at California State University, Fullerton. Now a retired art teacher, she and her husband of 68 years have two children and three grandchildren.

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