archives fall 2007



Call and no       response

I will not call you           candy

           Or I will not call you                  destroy

I will not call you           immer

           Or I will not call you                  jamais

You are not argyle and rope
           You are more slub and taste
                       You are each book in the endless           library after
                                  hours when the checkout desk is closed

When the checkout desk is        
                                            closed you are not        

                                                                             molecular and someday
You are not the scent of burning             cream

           You are the olive pit I search for in another woman’s      mouth

In a land of       green you are                persimmon
In a persimmon of         land you are                  sugar rising
            And the olive pit I search for in another             woman’s mouth is a library
                        And the library does                   not ask

They ask me what they should               call you
            No they            demand—
I say it depends on the  fabric
I say it depends on        when jamais comes

They like their shiny       keys and they like them              always
            I don’t              care much for little        prisons;
I do not relish the sexual            nature of unlocking
            —the insertion of hard               metal things into slick                 places—

            The subsequent             releases through forces of          will

They want to call you                things
I say it depends on the   key

If the key is       shiny the answer is        silence

If the key is       intricate the answer is                silence

If the key is       mine the answer is         silence

If the key is       jamais the answer is                 I will whisper into your ear like a woman’s

            mouth whispers in a
                                    library when she has forgotten the

meaning of all the

                                    words in all the whispering books when she has forgotten the
                        meaning of       


Movement across an invisible barrier

How you come to bed damp,
           bring the place where you were to the place where you are

The way your hair carries stories,
           tiny grains of sand

How the five small moles on your stomach
           form a constellation

           How the moon is a mirror

How something with no doors
           can be entered

           How you are your own horizon

How you breathe
           beneath the sea of sleep  


Philosophy for darling

If you were a seahorse you’d
           be loyal but you’re a man
so perhaps it is not your fault
           you like to breathe air perhaps
it is the dry dry oxygen making you
           thirsty for what you can’t
have if you could breathe
           water you wouldn’t need
mermaids if you were a
           fish I’d always be finding you
flopping around on the carpet not
           making your grand escape but
                      just seeing what it felt like to rub
           up against the synthetic beauty of soft
strands for feet you didn’t have if
           you had feet you wouldn’t need to
escape you see I see it all so
           clearly you see your reflection
in your little glass bowl you see
           with the perfection of one eye on
one side of a flattened
           head there are two sides to
everything you would say if
           you said such things
if you were a man
           and not a flippery creature
if I weren’t so busy cleaning up
           the wet tracks on the floor
if I were even


Which begins as a color unless it begins

as a sound:  we didn’t know what it was exactly
            but it was weeping. 
We both agreed about that— the fact that it was
            weeping. And I agreed that it was
beautiful and you agreed that it was
            nameless and after an hour had passed you
decided it must come from
            Japan and I agreed that it must come from
somewhere because only the weeping
            would have been here before.

And it fell like stars.
            In the manner of a star falling.
In the manner of a thing which begins
            so it has a beginning but now it is on fire
and we will only ever know it for
            its otherness.  Or we will never know it. 
Because once a thing falls then
            the torn space remaining—  then
where it is going to go—  


Frankie Drayus is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at New York University, where she was poetry editor for Washington Square. Her poems and short-short fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Third Coast, VOX, Poemeleon, Passages North (Finalist, Just Desserts Short Fiction Contest), and Barrow Street.  Her manuscript was chosen as a finalist for the 2007 May Swenson Poetry Award. She currently lives in Los Angeles.