Books by Diane Frank

Isis: Poems by Diane Frank


I am crawling through a parachute. It's a tunnel of gauze or silk or ripstop, with Persephone pushing my knees. I am blindfolded with a green silk scarf. Or maybe it's purple. Isadora's dancers or dragonflies push my body into distortions. I am wild inside gauze. Spinning inside air. Crawling in the dark towards a flicker of light. It's a mystery covered by a cocoon while meteor showers explode over my shoulders.

There aren't any instructions, and I'm surrounded by ripstop. I'm free falling from the air with prayer flags drifting around my ankles. Floating in the dark. Yellow and black stripes of light and shadow drift across my feet. Banded bees are trying to tell me stories, but all I hear is a buzzing in my ears. I am rolling down a long green hill a long time ago. I am picking a wild bouquet of poppies for my second grade teacher.

I am walking the high beams of the new houses abandoned by the carpenters of the late afternoon. The last farm stopped giving pumpkins last October, but this is a good place to collect discarded nails with my 8-year-old friends. The beams are an open theatre, and the shadows tell us stories. We have borrowed our mothers' scarves, and we are teaching the bees how to dance.

My lover and I are dancing barefoot after midnight. We are both covered with oil inside a steam of jasmine flowers. I skate counterclockwise over his body before the second hand stops. We might be in Kyoto or Tel Aviv, but the walls are now a blur. My heart is shaking, or maybe it is the walls.

The tunnel is streaming with gauze as I crawl in the semi-dark. The bees are humming softly on the other side of the parachute. The tone is silk or translucent, and floating. It's a new kind of music that I refused to listen to before. The bees say the erotic is in the shadows, and nobody can love without the wound. They tell me we all need to be pierced to know the mystery.

I am dancing inside a parachute, and suddenly I don't know how to fall. I am high above a ferris wheel of strangers, a thousand paper cranes after the bomb explodes at Hiroshima. The sake, still warm from the heat of your hands, is spilling across the table while you paint on my back with ink-covered fingers.

There is someone whose collarbone I see in my dreams. He sings to me in bass or tenor overtones in a familiar language. I can almost hear him breathing while poppies grow through the cracks in the slate path. I meet him in the tunnels between the pyramids.

— Diane Frank