In a Suburb

In a Suburb

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George Franklin is the author of two poetry collections, Traveling for No Good Reason (winner of the Sheila-Na-Gig Editions competition, 2018), and a bilingual volume, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas (Katakana Editores). He’s the winner of the 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. His work has also appeared in Panoply, Into the Void, The Threepenny Review, Salamander, Pedestal Magazine, Cagibi, and The American Journal of Poetry. A lawyer in Miami, he also teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and is the co-translator of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day (Katakana Editores). His poem “Shreveport” was printed by Broadsided Press.

In a Suburb

From WTP Vol. VIII #6

In a suburb of Austin, Texas,
A butterfly dreams he’s a Chinese
Philosopher. All the garage doors

On the block open their mouths to take
Communion. You say it’s sad when stars
Collapse into themselves. I agree,

But when Zarathustra met himself
In the garden, the earth did not stop
Turning, though the prophets who’d entered

Had all gone mad. Who is that sitting
On the stone bench, up ahead in the
Shadows? Rabbi Akiba

Entered in peace and left in peace. Still,
I think there is something wrong with the
World. In that dream, Nestor appeared. He

Wanted to speak, but the sounds from his
Tongue were not the speech of the Nestor
We knew, but guttural then shrieking,

The language of apes or men dying.
The war had been a war of desire.
All the men wanted Helen, and black

Carrion birds ate the genitals
And eyes of heroes. In the cornfield
At Antietam, bullets closer than

Corn stalks, the dead prone, in formation.
Which of us was deceived more, you who
Who woke to your clothes and mirror, to

The same face yawning, the same voice rough
With sleep, or me awake even in
Sleep, my wings covered in dust, floating?


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