Three Poems

By Frannie Lindsay

The Forgetting

She isn’t afraid to look
straight into the eyes of the kind oncologist
she’s come to know,

and tell him it’s started,
this morning she found she could
no longer read

her Bible, and just now
she forgot the word for chair. He asks her
to follow his finger

from east to west.
Now north. Now south. He asks her to touch
his nose then hers,

to keep this
going, now faster, and he begins to turn
from side to side,

upping the ante, playing
a kind of tag with his face, but soon
her finger runs out

of steam, and drifts to the beard
of the one yellow iris left in the vase.
Very good, he says.

She repeats very good
and thanks him, while he scribbles those few
quick notes on my sister’s last

Saturday morning awake.


The Thrift Shop Dresses

I slid the white louvers shut so I could stand in your closet
a little while among the throng of flowered dresses
you hadn’t worn in years, and touch the creases
on each of their sleeves that smelled of forgiveness
and even though you would still be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes simply
simply because you had asked that of them,
and dropped at the door of the Salvation Army
without having noticed me
wrapping my arms around so many at once
that one slipped a big padded shoulder off of its hanger
as if to return the embrace.


Prayer for My Sister

May you rise from the earth as a mulberry tree
in spring, a little away from the cabin road,

may the eager wings of your leaves
shiver daintily in the warming snowlight,

may your strife be redeemed as a vixen
free of her rusted trap, limping home
to her hungry kits,

and your dread of God
as a storm cloud heavy with yes,

and your fine, tired hair
as the slim-throated calls of the peepers
at evening,

and your last travail
as the papery buds that flee from April’s gusts,

and your regret as the grief-black fruit
whose sugared inks brighten the beaks
of the fledgling crows,

and the pain that tore your bones
as sunlight calm on the moss-crowned rocks,

and your death as the syllable of mist
on a doe’s mouth

at daybreak, safe
from even the weak sun’s aim.

Frannie Lindsay‘s two volumes of poetry are Lamb (Perugia, 2006), and Where She Always Was (Utah State University Press, 2004). She is the winner of the 2008 Missouri Review prize in poetry.

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