Finding the Body [Poetic]: Spotlight on Aerik Francis, Spring Tiny Resident

_Growing & Positioning Systems (GPS)_

Aerik Francis

“I’m going look for my body yeah/ I’ll be back real soon”

-Solange Knowles

what is in [this] finite wonder      full body     but a map

to a home that itches & improvises?

our heads, our hair      each     keys & paths

to ourselves, layered membrane.

digits five & five tend body expanses

teeming in memory & texture.

read tomography in touch & GPS trust

gut bubbles as butterfly & cardinal.


each sense a direction & each scent a message

desperate to caress trajectory into flesh like lotion.


hair braided bosque & shea into compass rose

crowned in code & cartography, wrapped in

emerald satin. ruby stitched skin blanketed

in pimpled topography & thimbleless thumbs. 

armed & equipped barber razor, nocturnal buzzing

grid to scalp to shadow fade legendary:


line-up spans forehead prime meridian,

edges sprout curl & coordinate formation.


dry dandruff flakes fall as bread crumb trails

as routes to roots & bare fruit.


as is lymph node, as erogenous

zones, as knee caps & finger


tips along dermal margins & purple bruises

desperate to impress each & every location:


the bounce & the grease – the crusting

decay of busting bud & zit. the cysts


benign reminders of cycles sublime. what are sweat & tears

but drops of pin? but salt circles? but clepsydra water clocks?


And us but vessels                 who keep losing

our ways, only finding fresh And                  intimate questions

––This work was first published by Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review

phaentompoet aka Aerik Francis is a Queer Black & Latinx poet & teaching artist based in Denver, Colorado, USA. They are a Canto Mundo poetry fellow and a The Watering Hole fellow. They are also a poetry reader for Underblong poetry journal and a coordinator with Slam Nuba. Aerik recently released an EP of poetry-songs called SYZYGY (available now on bandcamp), and they have a chapbook titled BODYELECTRONIC forthcoming April 2022 from Trouble Department Press. They have poetry published widely, links of which may be found at their website Find them on IG/TW/youtube/soundcloud @phaentompoet

Learn more about Aerik’s upcoming workshop HUMAN//BODY: BODY POLITICS & BODY POETICS.