Pre-analysis assumption: very early in the course of my voyage of discovery into the secret language of Emily Dickinson I have come to form a notion of what this symbol “air” signifies or at least what its location in the sexual geography in Emily’s work is: a space between penis/glans lip and the uteral orifice, during the climactic phase of heterosexual intercourse. It is directly above “earth“, the inmost vaginal wall, on which the flora of female orgasmic arousal grows and toward or into it (the air)it reaches. It lies above the vaginal floor or skin, therefore, but below the „sky” and contraceptive on which the “sun” describes its circuit. Its latitude is at the cervix/uteral orifice degree, and extends, presumably, into the cull de sac. It is, however, not synonymous with “space“, „abyss”, “vacuum”, “desert”, all of which also embrace that selfsame region, but with this difference: that in the “air” vagina “breathes”, experiences peakarousal which likely means that orgasmic excitation reaches up into it, toward glans, in hopeful ascendance, while in “desert” there is dry, arduous struggle, and in “space”, “abyss” the “awful vacuum” of frustration, when a collapsed penis is removed from a vagina in her maximum expansion (which, according to Masters Johnson remains expanded for about fifteen minutes afterwards).
Whether this notion will stand up in its main details, now that I have come to a somewhat better understanding of the locations, actions, activities and happenings in Emily’s sexology, I have some doubt. I am aware, above all else, that the relationship to contraceptive in which “air” stands, must be thoroughly considered. I think, for instance, that I know for sure that “sky” is the upper, outer surface of the contraceptive, towards which the orgasmic grasp rises, and on which the crumb-orgasmic attempt makes its beginning. For as aft I remain unshaken in my conviction that the contraceptive was present in all of Emily’s heterosexual experience. So, therefore, there are several aspects of the vaginal contact with c. that must be thought about. First, in the opening phase there could be an occasional vaginal awareness, of the contraceptive’s presence, on account of its dryness, and possibly not always tight fit on penis (depending on the latters extent of wrinkles in which case wrinkles in the contraceptive conceivably could cause occasional friction-slips and mental disruptions. Second, in this first, the fondling phase, a certain amount of air might get imprisoned in the contraceptive and, if so, would be present as a tiny bubble in front of the glans. Penis would probably be insensible to it, but vagina not so. Thus a first meaning, to the “air” symbol might be found in this circumstance. (Masters-Johnson would say that vagina could not feel this, because of the absence of nerve-ends in the vaginal tube – but I am not fully convinced). Third, a new situation then arises of which the sensual awareness of her vagina is being claimed in probably much more than a hundred poems. It is awareness that contact with glans is being lost, and that semen in quantity interferes now with the regaining of that contact. So now it is possible that this space above glans which becomes container for the semen emission, could occasionally be referred to as “air”, and this all the more as this “air” would also have the contraceptive film as "sky“ above it (in this sense the “earth” symbol could gain an occasionally male meaning, and its location would then be glans and, by further extension of this view, everything below glans, the urethra and the testes, would acquire the qualification of “subterranean”, a symbol which she does use.) And then of course fourth and last, the already mentioned space in the region of the cul de sac, where the intravaginal skin has lost contact with the glans and where the contractive attempt is being made to recapture it. All her symbols that deal with upward rise: climbing, flying, ascending, leaping, also the implements of it: wings, the grass-dwelling birds, etc. function mostly in this concept and within this region.
Finally I should note for once, and this is a good place to do so: the glans lost in the cul de sac is probably the direct cause why evolution brought about the mechanism for the contraction of the uterus muscles in the female orgasm. It lies in the nature of things that the solution had to be found in this convulsive outlet. It is, by the way, an astounding engineering feat from the physiological point of view, for the vagina to execute this grasping action, in which no scissor/hinge principle can apply, considering the elongated vaginal tube with no great mouth toward the inside.