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AFTERWARDS: CALIBAN/Talvikki Ansel I learned to name them—brown-nut-warm, wide Hipped, horses, on legs Thin as saplings. They have smooth, knocking, beach-stone Hooves, Are made to pull carriages, carry wood Across London's dull paths. Ears like the hare They speak a Soft Language. Sweet Breathers: They exist solely on the Insubstantial Grass, dusty Grains. The head is small—the size Of an owl, a keg. I think once they owned This island. In the warm ear of the one That stops at The Bridge, I whisper: 'wave' 'Oat cake/ 'the world is whip-less/ 'blue grey/ I can see suns, a seed, clouds in its Eye, From its Hank, it shivers off a sweat Fly. The Missouri Review · 51 Its shit is sweet, Harmless, it crumbles Under the Rain back into grass. I did Fit in there, on the island, even after They came. Here, housemaids throw refuse Into the streets, Unclean city. The fresh Springs still seeped cold, I knew the jays' Call: the anis' 'weep-weep'—how they Flew, Shadow-birds, from reeds at the waves' Edge when the boat came. I knew Marmoset with Golden Paws, heavyBilled pelican, barnacle Goose-bird, dirt Tunnel of the blind mole's home. We drank The water; in small holes left our waste And the bright Dung beetle rolled it away. 52 · The Missouri Review Talvikki Ansel Miranda, pig-nut, acorn, space—I now Know what to call it, what surrounded us When the island was still Sable from night— The sea's Mercurial flush, endless dove grey, The sky like water, but of Other Colors: lavender to sand-yellow Seamlessly—that it seemed I could Bathe in, Like the Tortoise glides in the billows On Armored wings. I did Feel this, standing On the promontory; This he can not Take from me; Deny I noticed the curl Behind her ear. Curl, curly, Curly Dock, The herbalist's poultice, heart's cure. Silly Girl, sillier boy, who cares where they are now? Talvikki Ansel The Missouri Review · 53 Pears and rue, I walk the London physic Garden. I knew they would Marry, they Had the same Eyes; played Chess—I couldn't Grudge them that. Squares of herbs, regiments Of onions, parsley against a brick wall, A wicker Cage for Doves. Why did I leave The island? So many things I didn't know— That I would be put out: Fleet Street, beside The two-headed Infant found in the Thames; The wicker ports; Garlic stink of People Pressing close. They kept me until I picked My scabs too much, slept, Dreamt. It's years ago. Here: gillie-flower ('Nature's bastard/ carnation) Its warm, Breeze-borne scent: cinnamon. 54 · The Missouri Review Talvikki Ansel Evenings in Spring, the 'chink-chinks' of Bells— Morris Men dancing; and the Man-woman, Who makes me nervous, his beard and House-wife's Frock, is and isn't. The night also Strange. Torches. There are Marvels in this city, Houses Alight as if they've brought The stars into their Bedchambers. Watching Alone from a casement window the moon Casts my lumped, ugly Shadow. Torch flames Like salamanders, like the red Silk In Cloaks. No, I never found Another Like me. Alchemical Understanding—why Does the Phoenix burn alone, others In sympathy? I've known friends. Tyrants, too. Talvikki Ansel The Missouri Review · 55 He would not carry wood himself, Prospero ; you are long since Dead but yet You make me rage. His words and Spells; he Played us like a Boy will a June bug On a string—whirling it around his Head; Like, by God's hand, the Sun orbiting The Earth. The first Man I saw; the first Words I heard, I listened to. I showed them ground Nuts, ripe Fruits, the silver smooth, Blue mussel— Inside, the Morsel of meat. I didn't Hide the bog where the berries grew. He sucked Out the bodies of Shrimps, then flogged me, bid Me work, watched me, blisters and Bark; as if He Knew the meaning, the Heft of leather, of wood. 56 · The Missouri Review Talvikki Ansel I was his Pup, delight of his Eye When...


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