In that World The Angels Wear Fins

In That World, The Angels Wear Fins

In that world, the angels wear fins.
Red hulls pass over like clouds, their shadows
angling down between ropes of sun.
When women who have dived there return,
they do not speak of oysters or pearls.
Shaking their heads they say, "There is nothing."
They say, "We must look somewhere else,"
and twist their black hair in the world of men,
and wade heavily through the grass-scented air.
From this they know loss like salt:
how without it, the tongue grows stubborn and dull,
tastes nothing.
But the wild flavor, the sea, how it moves in them,
hip and thigh--a soundless current, kicking
downward the rest of their lives.
--Jane Hirschfield
(Of Gravity & Angels)


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