Winter 1980 • Vol. II No. 1 Poetry |

A Fine, a Private Place

He took her one day under the blue horizon where long sea fingers parted like beads hitched in the doorway of an opium den, and canyons mazed the deep reef with hollows, cul-de-sacs, and narrow boudoirs, and had to ask twice before she understood his stroking her arm with a marine feather slobbery as aloe pulp was wooing, or saw the octopus in his swimsuit stretch one tentacle and ripple its silky bag. While bubbles rose like globs of mercury, they made love mask to mask, floating with oceans of air between them, she his sea-geisha in an orange kimono of belts and vests, her lacquered hair waving, as Indigo Hamlets tattooed the vista, and sunlight cut through the water, twisting its knives into corridors of light. His sandy hair and sea-blue eyes, his kelp-thin waist and chest ribbed wider than a sandbar where muscles domed clear and taut as shells (freckled cowries, flat, brawny scallops the color of dawn), his sea-battered hands gripping her thighs like tawny starfish and

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Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry, including The Zookeeper's Wife and A Natural History of the Senses.

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Aviatrix

By Diane Ackerman

He took her one day under the blue horizon where long sea fingers parted like beads hitched in the doorway of an opium den, and canyons mazed the deep reef […]

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