Chad Frame


In shock, form loses

function; function, form.

Simple geometries

I’ve taken for granted—

the parabolic curve

of your bare ass

in curtained moonlight,

a conic bouquet

of just-because roses,

the oblate spheroid

we inhabit together

skews, warps,

dissembles. Instead,

a mass of jumbled shapes—

a closed hotel door, do not

disturb circling the handle,

a wet glass plane, steamed,

your hand, white against it,

the long smear of soap

where it slid before finding

an angle to brace—

the rest of you, and him

against a tile wall,

the logistics of how you fit

together, streaming water,

the sound waves—

moans, the squeak

of wet flesh on glass,

the reedy hum your phone makes

on the edge of the sink,

each time I call and call

and get no answer.


Like the statue, slender
alabaster, curly locks,
the soft, full face
of youth, sublime
in stillness, yet each muscle
prepared to move—

We meet in the throb
of sound, neon-strobe
over the curves of you,
fragmented light pocks
the crowded room—wordless,
we move closer.

In a vinyl alcove booth,
pretending we are VIPs,
we speak of mutual love
of Neil Gaiman, characters
printed and drawn, of Tori
Amos, her elemental voice—

soft lips moving those few
moments they are not busy
pressed to mine, young
and ravenous. You stand,
hands on your hips, the back
of your neck, contrapposto—

you tell me tomorrow
you’ll be on a plane
home to Alaska, my arms
tight around you. I had
a northern lad. Well,
not exactly had…

We spill into yellow
sodium streetlight, wet July,
mutter quick promises,
and an idling cab steals you,
slinks into rain-blurred

Sunset, Kintnersville, Pennsylvania

Tired from an afternoon of Nana-sanctioned

swatting fat carpenter bees with a badminton

racket, the latticed white and green vinyl

of the lawn chair pinching my thighs where my shorts

ride up, I lie in orange-brindled sunset,

mauve clouds scraped across the sky’s easel

with the broad edge of a painter’s trowel.

Wind tousles the grass, a grandfather’s artless hand

on a boy’s head. Distant music floats by

and the trees sway along to UB40,

drunk guests at a neighbor’s barbecue.

I am conscious, even at six, that this moment—

the smell of the pine deck, the cold sweating

lemonade I cup with both hands, the stern

silhouettes of the distant mountains—

will follow me forever, same as the shadow

bunched about my shoulders like a dark cape.

Published 10-14-17

Chad Frame earned his MFA at Arcadia University. His work has appeared in decomP, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Calamus Journal, and elsewhere. He is the 2017 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and has used this platform to organize MARGINS, a diversity panel of minority artist voices who speak at schools and other venues about their unique experiences. Chad has been nominated for Best of the Net, is a past Literary Death Match pugilist, and lives with a Maine Coon named Jabberwocky in an outlying Philadelphia suburb.

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