Two Poems by Frankie Drayus

Thirdness / Origin Story
Choice C is always the answer
        	if you ask me to choose between
A or B—  for me there is no “or”—
        	there is always a slippery
“and” / which is not the same as
        	neither/both.  If you ask me
to choose between I will answer “fish”
        	but not to the question “fish or fowl”
because “fish” is the answer to “boy
or girl”—
we all started out by
swimming.  If you ask me “princess
        	or knight” I’ll
say I want to be the stuffed dinosaur
        	because when we play Castle
there should be a dinosaur.  So many
        	costumes the tall ones make us choose
between from the time we are born. 
Pardon me—
                    	I am too busy swimming
                to put on pants or dresses.
See my scales shimmer in the sunlight
                let my phosphorescence shock you        
my water-flame my
                dark-shine my scorchflood—
--for Hope

(Chemo Round Three)
“I’ve got nothing left/ it’s kind of wonderful / ‘cause there’s nothing they can take away…”
        	--Broken Bells / Perfect World
The industrial part of town
        	has never looked more beautiful—
                    	      the cement factory proof
        	that bodies are miracles of
physics, engineering—
        	My face is raining
because the steering wheel fits—
        	because I can hold it
                              today— because there is today—
because my hands are working—
                my knees bend and permit
                    	      me to accelerate, brake
save my life.
        	Down come the gates between
me & the oncoming train—
        	thank you, city engineers, for this
kindness. Our trajectories
        	now coexist without incident—
Incidence. What are the chances
        	of me? I am breathing
two days after wondering whether I would
                continue to do that—  I’m swallowing
 	                      food. I want to wave to
the people on the passing train—
        	do they know how beautiful
this day is? Do they know
        	their knees are fulcrums
 	                       and levers?
        	My heart is still beating.
There was such pain
        	such unbearable fire
I wondered whether it was better
        	to be permanently
        	And then the cool night—
                    	        there was Mercy—
                Reprieve is a beautiful word.
Today everything is beautiful
        	(which does not diminish the beauty
                    	        of any individual incidence)—
A seed caught in the fur
        	of an unsuspecting animal
and transported elsewhere—
        	the tree that grows is
not intentional— not on purpose—
                yet it grows
                    	         with intent— such am I—
        	I am unlikely
                    	         and yet
                                	       here I am,
                                 sobbing in my car
as a train full of Beauty
                    	         speeds past—

Frankie Drayus has recent work in Poemeleon, and past poems and short-shorts in Passager (Honorable Mention), Permafrost, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, diode, ART/LIFE (including her collage art), and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series, Walt Whitman Award, May Swenson Poetry Prize, and Marsh Hawk Press. She is a past co-director of the poetry nonprofit VCP, a multiyear co-curator of THE THIRD AREA, and a recent survivor of breast cancer.

Guest Editor Hyejung Kook’s poems have appeared in POETRY Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Other works include an essay in Critical Flame and a chamber opera libretto. Born in Seoul, Korea, she now lives in Kansas with her husband and their two children. Learn more at her website.