The Artist’s Hand

I’ve seen your hand, the kingdom

of it digging into flesh. The old, tarlike


crevice. Like light, lifelike villages

burst from your knuckle mounds in rays,


a sea of windows on the mounts of your palm,

wrenching, thickening, wanting more of itself.


The hand has touched me briefly,

between my atoms converging into the skin


on the wiry bone. Skin which is like paint

uprooting and uncertain of its stroke.


Bone which is not wood, or even bone,

tapering off to its home, wherever,


into my own hands, tiny brittle things

that don’t speak, oppose, or curl.


I start too molecular. I’m open to start.

Shiver of art, wanting to be your hands,


which are timeless and large, the part

of the body demanding my oval eyes.


I’ve wanted you to give me eyes.

These black things will not do-


they’re not life enough for you.

When I look into myself, oval in the glass,


embodied in the glass, unkingdomed,

unclaimed, I am recorded pallid


and dusty like snow. No-faced.


Bayleigh Fraser, USA

Dark Gem

Let’s be here, birth-

stone. Just for tonight.

Our bodies compress

the sand into hot coals,

and all this promised light

jumps down from the sky

inside a toothy wave.

Becomes soft and kelp.

Soft and muffled

by the direction of itself.


I don’t know where it’s going,

but right now I’ve got you

coming into the milieu

from a thousand directions,

and your faces imitate my eyes

like this ocean pretends

to be a bigger, wider moon.


When we realize this,

I don’t recognize you.

You’re my brown face,

tasty face, looking through

the early sea mist and into

the jaws of a gull that is slicing

across the derelict shore,

as though he knows it

can’t be ruined anymore.


Dark gem. Blue skin.

What are we doing now?

You brought me to open my eyes,

my eyes to open the insect shells

scattered around the beach

like shiny nuggets.

But I’ve been looking through

the oil spill, spilling over

the rickety, rocky dock,

and I can’t tell one black shell

from one black eye, black rock.


Bayleigh Fraser, USA