GIRL WAITING IN LINE FOR A FILM
by Frankie Drayus
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 convey (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.