My daughter flashed her fins,
then swam past all precaution
into the blue milk of human kindness.
Sunlight struck her skin olivine, emerald,
all the secret shades of the deep,
colours we cannot guess at.
Sometimes her clean, even strokes
tangle in the long weed. She is surprised
by the slippery fronds the Japanese call Hair Plant.
But everything has its use. She cooks it,
serves it with a fish caught in her cupped hand:
Fugu, she cuts away its little poison sacs
with ten delicate nips of her pointed teeth.
Magnetism (Bloodaxe, Britain, 1991)
copyright Maura Dooley