Blue Collection Poem by Talvikki Ansel

Blue Collection

Smoothed ribbon, night light, once
there were wool dogs isolated
on an island off the sand spit.
My dovekie, my twisted strand of kelp
go to sleep as I tell you this.
Paws crossed, the wool dogs
were shorn twice a year, thick fur
you could run your fingers through
like the prows of ships.
They are gone now, the breed
extinct, diffused, except
for a wool blanket in the town museum
near the coral collection: fingers,
filigrees, swirled brains. At night
the dogs curled under cedars, nestled
against trunks. Sleep,
maybe you will hear them
padding from tree to tree.
Sounds carry over water, they'd listen
for other dogs, the splash of oars
dipping, growls and barks
from the mainland - mongrels,
companions, dogs with short fur,
dogs stealing bread.
A spindle in the museum, a loom,
ship's bell. How heavy the iron
to press the white sheets, the clothes
whitened with blueing
on the dark-haired mannequin.
Low tide one night,
the dogs trotted off, slipped away
from their particular strain [End Page 33]
of thick fur, bloodlines.
Like a row of slip knots pulled straight
from a shoelace. No one knows
what they looked like anymore.
Here - to tie a knot - lean towards
this light, loop the strands through,
hold the frayed ends tight

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Talvikki Ansel

Talvikki Ansel

United States
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