November 18, 2009

the infrastructure rots
and the owners hate the jocks

Carol Diehl, All These Things That I've Done, 2008

Three poems by Frannie Lindsay:

To November

Here you come before we have had any time
to take our solemn coats our hats that itch back out
of the naphthalene dark you glide as though you believed
our gusty scarves and the flags of our breath
were welcoming you here you come with nothing
to love except your own vibrant bleakness

sweeping the birds with your stern stroke of hay
wide is your intent on songlessness
oh husher of all that has ever beseeched
oh nearsighted pipe-metal noon
puller of smoke from the unready chimneys
are you not at once reluctance and hastened departure

with nowhere to go except every north-facing stoop
each complaining screen door in which a tired wife
has just given up waiting I offer you this
lashed bundle of all that is still
too damp to burn

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’d be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes 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.


Her brow and knees,
her brain

and womb and ruined heart,
her bowing arm,

and breasts that fed
no one, the foot that hurt,

the cheek
her father struck,

all burned
together: soot, light snow

the spring that she
was born.


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