you are in the diode archives v6n3




We were tied to the weather.
Outside, houses turned their backs to the wind.
The dead sipped what was left from the ground.
The snowcover turned stale, darkened.
There was nothing left to discuss.

We were game heads, stares fixed,
tongues thick and permanent
in my molded gape, your grimace.
We couldn’t taste anything.
The carpet beetles were eating us alive.


The Yellow Bathing Suit

We were on the eastbound train, passing clumps
of clapboard houses between butter stick glazed
marshes with their shrubby populations, skeletons
deleaved, debirded: barren even now in the depth
of summer’s sunset, and you were reading something
aloud about mammals, or maybe bats, and plucking
an imaginary bass in your lap, and the staggering populace
and stink made us a moving city, an urban and damned
world moving over flats of water, noising its way
through towns.  But you were not there: just me, sliding
along the blue seat wishing for you across the table,
you crooning one of those Irish tunes just for me.
You were back in your living room, the silent television
telling you things you cannot say, muted
characters speaking out your paranoia. But here
in the café car, the world moves quick and steady,
and I warn you I’m not afraid. Not of your fist
punching the wall, your voice raised against
itself, your confessed worries that I’m married
or stealing your passwords or working for the CIA.
You pretend you’re joking but the window is always
cracked for me to confess.  I tell you I don’t mind
the puffs that calm you, the tensions that move across
you like a chill, the gaps when you stop midsentence as if
receiving an incoming message that you’re not sure
whether to attend to. I tell you I’ll take out the bottles,
remember dog food, hold your shaking body—but here’s
my world floating by in a bubble, the one which presses
its face to the glass and calls me back to to-do lists,
requirements, social graces  and all the familiar faces
of my accordion life, stretching and pulling itself
in contrast to your closed house and its little secrets
and the way your eyes looked into mine to see if I
can be trusted or if I’m undercover. Everything
about me a ruse. The sun is setting, and we are riding
on a train, but really you are back in your yard watching the dog,
and I’m watching the golden and darkening fields, thinking
back to a picture of myself in a yellow bathing suit:
I’m small and standing by the pond, waiting for you,
and I have no idea that one day you’ll be waiting for me, alone
in your living room, doors locked, shades pulled; instead, I’m
running across the grass, arms open, running past
your small self lying in the yard sucking in your lips.
You’re watching the world spin and splinter and flight
itself into a million colored butterflies; you’re drowning
in your first psychotic visions, and the sun sets around the train
windows and around your living room and I’m still running
and the seat’s still empty and I reach across to kiss you
chastely, to touch the air around your eyes and think
I’ll save you. I imagine you sit up and catch me in your net,
back when your imaginings were harmless fancy, back before
I hopped the train and left you to your mercurial unravelings.  


Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of one collection of poems, Little Murders Everywhere, a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Guernica, Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review online, and elsewhere. She is the co-founder and editor of the online magazine Memorious, and she teaches at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.