Fall 1982 • Vol. IV No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1982 |

Zoë

Ultimate immigrant,who passed through the Ellis Islandof your mother's hips,with a name slit loosefrom its dialect of cell and bone:welcome to the citadel of our lives.We listened for the hoofbeats(your heart) for nine monthsand then your mother nearly died,hospitably, to give you light. Like an Hawaiian princess,you are carried everywhere,on a litter, in a carriage,by the arabesque of one's arm.Your feet have never touched ground.You, who can't even roll overwhen you want, creamy little tyrant,control the lives of all around you. Sound leaps from your faceand your ribs quakeeach time the downy world chafes.Last week, you first smiledbecause grownups acted silly.Things elude you, but you can graspabsurdity already. By mistake, you suck your wristinstead of mother's nipple.We laugh. With your operatic cries,and Michelin-man pudge,and seepages from below,and eyes alert as twin deer,you have no sense of self whatever. Zoë Klein, goddaughterwith a hybrid name,living in the

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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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Soft Lens

By Diane Ackerman

Ultimate immigrant,who passed through the Ellis Islandof your mother's hips,with a name slit loosefrom its dialect of cell and bone:welcome to the citadel of our lives.We listened for the hoofbeats(your […]

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