By Jane Springer Jane Springer
When they told us Don’t speak until spoken to, we grew
ears the size of corn.
When they forced us to eat everything we swallowed
their hurt whole.
When they hit us for drawing on the wall we painted
doors that opened behind curtains.
For generations they lived like this. Wanting badly to
save us—not knowing how.
& all the while we found love in unlikely places: In
the ravaged church of our bodies & our faces,
refracted in their long faces.

Jane Springer, “Mules” from Murder Ballad. Copyright © 2012 by Jane Springer. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books.

Source: Murder Ballad (Alice James Books, 2012)

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Poet Jane Springer

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, The Body, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Jane  Springer


Born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and raised in several small towns across the South, poet Jane Springer earned a PhD at Florida State University. Her debut poetry collection, Dear Blackbird (2007), won the Agha Shahid Ali Prize from the University of Utah Press. Her second collection, Murder Ballad (2012), received the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books. Influenced by Flannery O’Connor and Larry Levis, Springer writes . . .

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Poems by Jane Springer

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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