Frannie Lindsay: “When I write a poem, I want someone”


to knit it a hat, call the grandparents,

quit haggling over this or that name,

hoist up my shirt and invite it

to suckle and suckle and suckle.

I know I will feed the new creatureling

well, help it grow skinnier toes,

fewer words. I know it will not, God forbid,

inherit my penchant for panic. It will be

the right length, it will like itself. The best

classes will want it to sit at the front.

It will raise its hand. All the teachers

will call on it. It will recite. Oh how it will

recite. Sweetly enough to be granted a pass

from a whole semester of gym. In time,

it will become dearly beloved, then treasured

maybe too much, then remembered.


Frannie Lindsay’s fifth book, If Mercy, was published by The Word Works in 2016. Her previous two are Mayweed (The Word Works, 2010) and Our Vanishing (Red Hen Press, 2012). Over the past few years, Lindsay’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2014, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Field, Plume, and many others.

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