By Robert Wynne

The Frame is non-rhyming 10-line poem, with 10 syllables per line, and which addresses only things that physically surround the inspiration for the poem – which should be referenced in the title (but can also remain a mystery). This form was designed to give the poet a method of addressing topics which are emotionally overwhelming, or too familiar, by keeping the subject itself out of the poem. The poet is required to focus on images, which should keep the editorializing to a minimum. And since it’s so brief, each image in a Frame bears significant weight; the same subject can be presented in many different lights depending on the images chosen. Here are two examples:

Mona Lisa

Set behind glass, with a thick wire stretched taut
to keep it aloft, the lone painting hangs.
A wooden mantle, seven layers deep,
extends from the wall below like a shelf
for all this shared air. The crowd gives no ground,
inching forward to press tightly against
nylon barriers which keep them at bay.
Each person offers a phone or camera’s
third eye, remembering externally.
On tiptoes, in the back, a woman smiles.

Anticipation of the Fire Sprinkler

Shadows thrown by orange tongues flicker darkly
on the ceiling. Flames start to climb curtains.
Cloudy wallpaper curls at the edges
to slowly become an ashen model
of the golden spiral. Each photograph
relinquishes its own specific past,
until all the smoke finally contains
the knowledge necessary to answer
water’s patient question: when to flow free,
intervene on behalf of the future.