Chad Frame

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 earned his MFA at Arcadia University, where he now teaches writing. His work has appeared in decomP, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and elsewhere. He is the 2017 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has been nominated for Best of the Net, is a past Literary Death Match pugilist, and lives with a Maine Coon named Jabberwocky in an outlying Philadelphia suburb.