Frankie A. Soto


A ghost in the flame

If you knock on a coffin. Does anyone answer?
Do you hold on to the hope that flesh is not the

finality. Cling to the suspense that your skepticism
will be wrong. Ghosts dance in wood boxes to the

tune of a familiar voice.. Sun light blossoming through
the bedroom windows. Her favorite part of

the day was the morning. So you never forget to leave
the curtains open when the sunrise nears.

Ring finger withered, joints clinging to
bone. Wedding band a historical landmark.

There are ghosts hanging above fireplaces. Trapped in a
worn down cherry wood frame. Her white gown

posture secured safely in the vicinity of rocking chair
view. Vowels are not flammable. Sadly skin doesn’t

offer the same assurances. Kiss her ash on the nightstand
with the same gummy bear knees.

Years have not been a deterrent to the pins and
needles of teenage exuberance. Turns off the lamp

with the flickering bulb. Ignoring the irony of what
a light bulb represents. A foreshadowing he never

fathomed. He still doesn’t believe it will ever blow
out or that she is no longer present.

Falling asleep with hopes that tomorrow his heart
will not be a burden. Crowbar the seal that keeps this

void solidly enclosed. Pain allows the memory to stay
current. Hinting at any route that detours from the
routine is a hauntingly horrific proposition.

Time doesn’t pause for grief. So as the years mount he
attempts to discover new flames for this old

fireplace. Promising himself effort will be sincerely
committed while crossing every toe under the blanket. 

Fluff the accompanying pillow knowing the
indent will not appear in the morning. He will rock

by the logs heavy in gray. Still praising her smile he sees
in the smoke. Still madly in love with the reply that no longer

answers his knock.  She is still the door he chooses to walk
through. Till death do they never part.




Skin, I have stood outside your
ministries seeking refuge. Knees peeking
through shredded Levi’s.  Newspaper forts
as I look for entrance at your door.

Skin, you’ve become a judgment too harsh
for sensitivity. Attacking with the malice of a
partner discovering an affair. It is not fair to be

subjected to unwillingly becoming this trend
where ratings are accurate evaluations. Where it’s
more comforting to refer attractiveness as a 10 or
dime or fine rather than call it beautiful.

Skin, you have clogged confidence with
waste. It’s not finding passage to
sewers. It’s crawling in the sheet
rock. Rattling like mice playing hide and
seek in pipes. Skin, your talk show style

criticisms has many burning bridges. Nooses
around vocal cords. Staying less vocal when
the pressure tightens. Swinging off gallows since
its’ easier to appear happy then to consume it.

Recited like a medication commercial where
the side effects are rapidly fired in calm harmony.

Joy can be found at all times within

*If you notice an urge for a picnic in the
afternoon. A morning bike ride for no reason
at all.  Skipping on the sidewalk, or a street
or any form of skipping in a blissful way. Contact
your doctor immediately. You may be suffering
from a transcendent breakthrough.

Skin, your shelter is welcomed. It’s a haven
for us to disguise what lurks below. This living
arrangement must be renegotiated. I will not
be peddling for your compliments. I will not

behave accordingly to save face. My face is not
a public auction. I have grown tiresome of changing
for the winning bidder, style, standard.

Tired of praying to mirrors like glass is
stronger than love. It isn’t!

I’ve thrown corona bottles on pavements. Daring
it not to shatter. It always does. We are not
alcohol even though we share a numbness in
our bodies at times.

Skin, you are not a factory. You are not checklist for others
to find satisfactory. Image is not a definition
you must memorize for a test. Forget the review.

Be a the problem child who snaps pencils
into nun chucks. Hands in the paper with
a 100 where it says NAME_________

It’s so easy to shame our bodies
for being bodies. Living flesh that can’t
always be tight, ripped, stretched so that
the lines in our laugh are forgotten.

Skin I don’t fear my face one day looking
like my palms. I have never had a straight line
on them. I have always had a crooked smile
which hangs lower on the right-side.

I don’t mind a bit of broken in my joy. Its more
authentic to wear flaws casually. Then to spend

your life trying to dress for an audience
whose applause won’t make your palms any





New York Times called Frankie A. Soto a “FORCE”. A national touring poet & Author of a Weed in a Garden of Extraordinary Flowers published by Boone Dock Press & Forever is not enough. He won 2016 Multicultural Poet of the Year for the National Poetry Awards. He has featured at over 100 Colleges, Universities across the country. More of his work can be found at