Don’t Tell Me

By Talvikki Ansel Talvikki Ansel
it’s iron, the bottle
crouched on its white pedestal,
long beak spout and wide open handle
you could see starry sky through.

Everybody was doing that new stitch,
it had spread far west, oh yes,
said Mrs. ______ at Knit & Purl,
but how many hats can one person wear?

I’d like to be more useful—say
apprentice to a bung fitter, or make
chipped ice, to hit something (not live)
on the head, directly,

I’ve not yet seen the Rock Wren
though I saw a photo of one inserting
pebbles in the airflow pipe of a mine,
therein to lay its eggs.

Source: Poetry (September 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2010
 Talvikki  Ansel


Talvikki Ansel grew up in Mystic, Connecticut. She earned an AB from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Influenced by Robert Hayden, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, Ansel writes spare, precise poems that balance on—and often question—the border between the natural and the manmade. Her poetry collections include Jetty and Other Poems (2003) and My Shining Archipelago (1997), which was . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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