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poemoftheweek poem of the week


Franny Choi


Notes on the Existence of Ghosts

Leaves stained onto the sidewalk from yesterday's storm create gray-green watermarks on the pavement, like the negatives of pressed flowers, or the ghost of a letterpress still whispering up from the page. A sidewalk is a haunted thing.


I understand the gravity of a train from the empty space and afterbirth air I encounter when I run down to the platform twenty seconds too late. It is the same with all things of such weight - to know them best when you have just missed them.


Snow angels; the power of an outline to name an absence holy, a finger pointing to the inherent fiction of angels and therefore haunting.


If the stars have, as they say, been dead for millions of years by the time their light reaches us, then it follows that my retinas are a truer thing to call sky.


Dove collides into window, leaving a white imprint of its body. 
A crime scene outline saying, Take this, the dust of me. Remember the way my body was round and would not move through glass.

The Well

One day, she wakes up
buried in a well.

The well is her heartbeat. 
It rings the stones. The stones
are crumbling too slowly 
for anyone to notice.
The sky is a distant moon,
a past life. She forgets 
her own name. Her name 
is Dark-Drinker. Bone-Wife. 
She marries the dust.
The dust is a boy who fell.
A boy is like a memory
but heavier. Memories
crawl over her hands.
She has too many hands.
She is all open mouth
asking for night. The night
is asking her to stay.
She stays.


in my dream, i am galloping 
on the winds of a violent revolution, stretching
straight letter I, a storm of churning 
voices collected into a single 
spine. i am radical rapid 
turning, uprooting houses
blasting open government
offices, swarms of solid 
atmosphere and salt-
water rising against the
pyramids rearing 
on the horizon 
blackening out
whole suns

                                   i've never seen
                                   the file cabinets emptied
                                   into the streets. only dreamt
                                   blurry photographs of
                                   swirling singularity.

                                   i hear most storms collapse 
                                   back into sand and thin, whipping 
                                   too fast around their own gravity.

                                   i stand on my steps and watch
                                   the leaves moving in the wind
                                   until one is lifted 
                                   into the air and another
                                   carried briefly 
                                              into its surge,
                                   dragonflies colliding and
                                   multiplying, sweet 
                                                  turbine. and it is 
                                   a hint;

                                   a fleeting tug 
                                   at the corner of a mouth.


               -from Floating, Brilliant, Gone, selected by Guest Editor Phillip B. Williams

BIO: Franny Choi is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), which the Providence Phoenix called “a thin, muscular book crackling with energy.” She has received awards from the Poetry Foundation and the Kentucky Women Writers’ Conference for her poems, which have been published in Poetry Magazine, The Poetry Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, Margins, and others. Her work has been featured by the Huffington Post, PBS NewsHour, Feministing, and Angry Asian Man.

Franny is a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellow and former Co-Director of the Providence Poetry Slam, one of the most highly-regarded spoken word poetry communities in the nation. She has been a finalist in performance poetry competitions including the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. She has performed her work in schools, conferences, bars, theaters, and festivals across the country. As a Project VOICE teaching artist, she has taught students of all ages and levels of experience, from first graders in New York City to high school English teachers in Western Pennsylvania.  A Kundiman Fellow and graduate of the VONA Workshop, she is also a founding member of the multidisciplinary artists of color collective Dark Noise. She is currently an MFA Candidate in the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program.

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