Frannie Lindsay, "Mother and Father, Father and Mother"




Just for now they’ve decided to swap:

her wig in the cabinet taking a nap 

of its own; he in her spavined bed, 

speckled pate sticking out 

of the stiff, stiff sheets, grouch of a snore 

under the covers with him 

for companionship;  she in the visitor’s 

beat-up chair, taking her turn 

at the weary vigil, pretending to read 

the Times; all of the planet’s doom

spread wide in her bony lap

like the tattered and practiced wings 

of a raptor she never believed in, come 

to carry her far from the rest home’s 

dinge and drear; she and he not caring who 

is doing the dying, not knowing who 

sees whom in the window glass, or who is doing 

the reading and who the sleeping, or whose 

is the applesauce left on the spoon 

in the bowl on the tray on the cart 

with the wobbly wheels in the hall; 

or who will do the fretting, or who 

the raging, or who the leaving, or who 

the leaving.



Frannie Lindsay’s fourth volume of poetry, Our Vanishing, was the 2012 recipient of the Benjamin Saltman Award and published by Red Hen Press. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry of 2014, as well as widely in literary journals, including Yale Review, Crazyhorse, Tampa Review, Shenandoah, Antioch Review, and Field.