George Franklin


The Way It Is Now

Two nights ago, you asked me if I felt old,
And I had trouble answering. I settled for a joke
And said I just felt immature, but we both knew
I was lying. There are futures I’ve already passed,
Poorly-marked intersections where, I guess, I
Could have turned left, or right, and didn’t. That’s
What age is: time made real in your body, the way
Bone rubs away at bone, voice grows rough,
Memory thickens into a meandering line of
Choices, accidents, each one redefined by the
Next. So much for intentions. I check the time
On my cellphone and lie in the dark, thinking of
Mountains in New Hampshire, a trail I hiked,
Alone, years ago, stumbling over tree roots,
Slipping in spring mud. I remember a dinner of
Oatmeal and chocolate, the smell of drying socks.
Later, Sonnets to Orpheus by flashlight, the call
Of an owl in the maple trees. Barefoot but awake,
I let the dog out back and sit with hot coffee
In the blue, pre-dawn light—the color of
Water covering white sand or the earth
Seen from space. Every time I look up, the sky
Brightens more. There are fewer shadows.


GEORGE FRANKLIN practices law in Miami and teaches poetry workshops and other writing courses in Florida state prisons. His poems have been published most recently in Salamander, B O D Y, Matter, Scalawag, Sheila-Na-Gig, Gulf Stream, The Ghazal Page, Rumble Fish Quarterly, Vending Machine Press, Rascal, and The Wild Word, and translated into Spanish and presented in a dual-language format in Alastor, Nagari, and Revista Conexos. Translations of poems by the Colombian poet Ximena Gomez, in collaboration with the author, have been published in Cagibi, and his poetry is also forthcoming in The Threepenny Review.