Two Poems

Frannie Lindsay





What else is she ever going to be

but one of the wind’s outgrown costumes

stuck in the swingset’s tangled chains


searching the halls of her huge purgatorial night

like she did in the Good Samaritan Hospital

when they took out her tonsils


shoulders capped now with sleet

knees creased like a supplicant’s

like pants on a hanger


accrual of all of the hover and swoop

no one quite believes in




only very ill children can see her

standing alone in the glare

of her heartbreaking nondescriptness

chocolate smears on the sides of her mouth


one more skinny girl astray from herself





two pocked oranges

one half cup of hot skim milk

gluttonous dinner



Body Mass


imagine running in place

with the door-open

oven on broil

Nikes no good anymore for outside

longjohns the dryer chewed up

bleached out sweats over that

then old boyfriend’s sweater then

catastrophically dirty down coat over that

ski cap and gloves ratty scarf knotted tight

kitchen door shut black and white TV

sound turned low so the neighbors

won’t figure it out

not yet knowing that once in a while

during hell week a frat pledge

dies from this


don’t stop imagining don’t give up

the imagining



aging olympic figure skater

spinning on one single knifepoint in time with

the Casio watch commercial’s trite jingle

perfect stiff smile velvet skirt

stitched back together a little too much


but lifting still in its old immodest wind


she used to be so so good




Sometimes you visit bringing the lilacs’ stifle and chill
sometimes the earthworms’ benevolent gleam

sometimes you visit and all of my nights alone
harbor their dark as a fugitive

sometimes you visit and the never-swept dust
blossoms into brown chittering birds

and sometimes the gust of May lifts the gauzy hair
on the heads of old women

and sometimes you bring the bequests of November’s
rattling twigs

sometimes you come as a mother trying and trying
to nurse her gaunt infant

or you come as a hand placing baptismal snow
on a mountain to name its stillness

sometimes you place yourself under the pillow of
those who cannot fall asleep

sometimes you bring me a flask of tears
sometimes you show me the tombs of darlings

and you visit not because we fade into our nakedness
but because our clothes will not miss us

and you visit because soon enough you will
visit no more and nevertheless I will keep watch


Frannie Lindsay’s sixth volume of poetry, THE SNOW’S WIFE, is forthcoming from Cavankerry Press in the fall of 2020. Her previous titles are IF MERCY (The Word Works, 2016), OUR VANISHING (Red Hen Press, Benjamin Saltman Award 2012), MAYWEED (The Word Works, Washington Prize 2009 Washington Prize), and LAMB (Perugia Prize, Perugia 2006).

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