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There is a place at the center of earth where one ocean dissolves inside the other in a black and holy love; It's why the whales of one sea know songs of the other, why one thing becomes something else and sand falls down the hourglass into another time. Once I saw a fetal whale on a block of shining ice. Not yet whale, it still wore the shadow of a human face, and fingers that had grown before the taking back and turning into fin. It was a child from the curving world of water turned square, cold, small. Sometimes the longing in me comes from when I remember the terrain of crossed beginnings when whales lived on land and we stepped out of water to enter our lives in air. Sometimes it's from the spilled cup of a child who passed through all the elements into the human fold, but when I turned him over I saw that he did not want to live in air. He'd barely lost the trace of gill slits and already he was a member of the clan of crossings. Like tides of water, he wanted to turn back. I spoke across elements as he was leaving and told him, Go. It was like the wild horses that night when fog lifted. They were swimming across the river. Dark was that water, darker still the horses, and then they were gone.
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Author:Hogan, Linda
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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