Bring back our girls.


Bring back our dresses untorn
bring wind for them
bring our barrettes
and the pretties we wanted
bring back our chalk
and the flies with no secrets
bring tear-splash
on kerchieves of mothers
bring solace for wailing
cover o cover our asking eyes
line up our shoes
keep sharp our pencils
and latched our boxes of paints
bring back our off-key hymns
bring back the cram of our knees
under outgrown desks
bring the cloudless skies of our boredom
bring back the whisperless waiting
the nudging of nothing
the knowing the flinch
against our against
bring back our lesson books
written in hurriedly
bring back the doorway’s breeze
when we finished our learning
bring back our chatter
that weighed less than birdsong
bring back the cursive
we almost were good at
the grasses waving at no one
bring the tall of the trees of us
keep hot the schoolhouse embers
bring spears from the hearts
of startled gazelles
bring back the stars
with their dawn-time ferocity
bring back the masks of our
unsleeping faces





Frannie Lindsay has received prizes from other presses for all of her previous volumes, and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her fifth poetry volume, If Mercy, was published in the spring of 2016 by The Word Works. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The American Poetry Review, The Yale Review, The Georgia Review, Field, Crazyhorse, The Harvard Review, Salamander, and many others. She was awarded the 2008 Missouri Review prize in poetry, and one of her poems appears in Best American Poetry 2014. It has also been featured in Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and on Poetry Daily. She is also a classical pianist, and has been active in greyhound rescue for 23 years.


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