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How they are with each other, the woman, the man.

They passed between them the huge green coconut it took two hands to hold, its skin smooth and cold against their palms. They sipped up the milk, icy and blue, through a pink straw, shaking out the last drops on the sand so they could hurry back to the man with the machete. One whack and the cool world opened like every sacred hollow to offer more of what they never knew they wanted. The vendor splintered off a thin curve of shell--rude spoon to scoop out the creamy gel, swirl it with salt, lemon, chili, lift it to the tongue-- All morning their quarrels had circled--jagged wings of frigate birds, prehistoric, their great split tails open V's--no victory, no peace. Spread legs. The impossibility of blue. The woman. The man. Each craving. They floated in salt, ancient. Not speaking. Pelicans rattled, flung shattered water from their furry heads. The woman, the man. Broken waves, dream's hymen, bitter vow. Green coconut, green the punctured roundness that slakes the body's great thirst, green the split husks that invite us in, the woman, the man to the soul's immense hunger under the sun's life-giving cancerous grace.

Peggy Shumaker's new book, Wings Moist from the Other World, appears this fall from the Pitt Poetry Series. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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Author:Shumaker, Peggy
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:224
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