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Antonia, Pearl Fisher


ISSUE:  Autumn 2003

Antonia, my sweet golden, is a great pearl fisher.
You should see her dive, muzzle oddments from the ocean floor,
send them free floating up to me like untroubled fates.

First we build ourselves a shrine to the goddess
of oysters, like a little diorama-box whittled
from an old oar handle. We offer sacrificial gifts

of crabs and eels, kelp drawings on the rocks,
grab bags of celestial music. How well
this celestial music travels under water!

Submerged, in canine ecstasy, Antonia out thinks Descartes.
Je suis, ergo je swim. Occasionally, just to be politic,
we also do a little dance for Athanasius, too,

who misses the beer gardens, who knows
one’s home is filled with true hard things and has shape,
old helmets, the halberds and pikes, censors and crowns,

his swash-buckled armor, glittering like sunfish.
We have our ceremonies—Antonia insists on ritual—
First deep thinking, then dancing, then the pearls.

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