Honorable Mention: 2020 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest

Chad Frame_poetry

We’re twenty, nude, everything firm
and responsive to the touch, soft
breeze cool on our flanks as the pool
laps small waves at the edges, night
purpling above us. You tell me

you have feelings, but I am young
enough to believe chemistry
waits dormant in all things for fire
to ignite—that perfect bonds form
on a whim. Years pass by in months,

six not talking, three back in touch,
each fuck-of-the-week with his flaws
you sob to me—the built frat boy
with awful car playlists, the twink
who texts you from across the room,

the circuit boy who makes the clack-
clack of credit cards on mirrors
every morning as he cuts
his breakfast lines. And each painting
you finish with a casual

mastery, sneaking some aspect
of one of them onto canvas—
the hyperreal Spartan soldier
who looks exactly like the guy
really into getting tied up,

the abstract square that is the house
you move into for a few months
with the one with the high-pitched voice
that drives you to drink and tell me
in some drab diner, like always,

that you wish we could have made it
work. A tentacle of cold cream
slowly wraps around my coffee
as I joke At least you’d paint me,
and the whole dark is strangled pale

Chad Frame’s work appears in Rattle, Mom Egg Review, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, and other journals and anthologies, as well as on iTunes from the Library of Congress. He is the Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv performance troupe, and founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat.