Luminous. That’s what I thought
   when I looked at her skin—
she glowed like the moon when the sky is thinking
   about rain.  Not her eyes though.
There she was hidden—
   she knew how to keep herself in check,
how to look without being seen.
   But in her skin
she could not help herself,
   could not stop all that
luminosity.  There is no other word for it.
   Everyone staring at you all the time
               must make you wary.
I wanted to come closer
   but I couldn’t, had to stop
at the burr of tiny hairs along
   her cheek, filaments
you’d never have noticed but
   for the lantern she’d made
of herself.  That the light made
   of her.  What is it like
to be a milky glass carrying fire?
   I couldn’t ask—how could I
ask something so under-the-skin?
   No way could I move my mouth
or push the required air past
   my vocal cords, teeth, lips in
a manner that would
   (the appropriate awestruck moonstruck) it.
The way she didn’t look at me
   with her careful eyes—
I think she knew.  I didn’t
see her; I witnessed her,
the way you witness a miracle.

Frankie Drayus’ poems and short-short fiction have been published
in Poet Lore, BROAD!, Duende, [out of nothing],
Ninth Letter,
poemeleon, Third Coast and elsewhere. Her manuscripts have been
finalists for the National Poetry Series, May Swenson Poetry Prize,
and the Walt Whitman Prize. She received an MFA from New York
University where she was poetry editor for Washington Square. She
lives in Los Angeles.
by Frankie Drayus