One sees. One is enticed. One goes
or not. One pines, or not. That's all
it is. Still, every time one tells,
by hairsbreadth, hairsbreadth, on it grows.
The slant of eye. The cut of tooth.
One thinks what one describes explains.
While spouses sneer and parents strain,
sift sigh from sly, clip rune from brood.
Whatever one might think to say
one says. Despite one's innocence
strange words serve, stranger, to estrange.
Hearsay. Soothsay. Verité. Fey.
One's wooden tongue sprouts eloquence.
Oh changeling, this is how you change.
About the Author: Nathalie F. Anderson's first book, Following Fred Astaire, won the 1998 Washington Prize from The Word Works. Her poems have been singled out for prizes and special recognition from the Joseph Campbell Society, The Cumberland Poetry Review, Inkwell Magazine, The Madison Review, New Millennium Writings, Nimrod, North American Review, and Southern Anthology, and have also appeared in APR's Philly Edition, Cimarron Review, Cross Connect, Denver Quarterly, DoubleTake, The Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, The Recorder, Southern Poetry Review, Spazio Humano, and in the Ulster Museum's collection of visual art and poetry, A Conversation Piece. A 1993 Pew Fellow, Anderson teaches at Swarthmore College, where she is a Professor in the Department of English Literature and directs the Program in Creative Writing.
"Tell" © 2006 by Nathalie F. Anderson. The poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.