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About this poet

Elisabeth Frost is the author of All of Us (White Pine Press, 2011). Frost has received grants from the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. She teaches at Fordham University, where she is the founder and editor of the Poets Out Loud book series from Fordham University Press.

Telling

Elisabeth Frost

They keep telling me why I do what I do. I do it so that one day someone will do for me what I'm doing for her. They're saying, then, that my motivation is to be, down the line, the recipient of the doing. According to their logic, I buy her the Times and irises for the bed table, renew the nitroglycerin and Cardia, throw in the chocolate that isn't allowed, and, back home, scour the tub, scrub the toilet—I do these things in order to have them done for me, if not by her, who can't do them (let's be honest), then, second best, by someone else. They say that's the reason I study so closely her happiness, her lack of happiness. And their gentleness in the telling, the lowered chin and eyes, the slow enunciation, the hand reaching toward my wrist—it all tells me that things won't end where I think they will, that what I do isn't like a mitral valve (thrust open, clamp shut), an act without volition, but is, like the refusal finally to turn away, something chosen, which may or may not do anything like what one hopes it will.

Copyright © 2011 by Elisabeth Frost. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Elisabeth Frost. Used with permission of the author.

Elisabeth Frost

Elisabeth Frost is the author of All of Us (White Pine Press, 2011). Frost has received grants from the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. She teaches at Fordham University, where she is the founder and editor of the Poets Out Loud book series from Fordham University Press.