Two Poems by Samuel T. Franklin

Transformation

The warp of things bends
   beyond the horizon’s dark curve.
You slip your skin.
   All the way—
pain will not destroy you
   if you keep bartering breath.
Drape it like a flag across your forearms,
   your hanging flesh
your muscles naked and bloody in the air.
   Go outside,
tack your skin over the window—tight, snug,
   with iron nails long as the memory
of a country at war with itself.
   Leave it there.
Suns of unknown noons copper it,
   night’s cool dimness
makes a ghost of its shape,
   and the wind crawling through the oaks
digs shallow rivers along the veins.
   Mossy altars erect themselves
around anchored hairs,
   tended by spiders and pale flies.
It begins to split, to crack.
   Pull the nails, those dark and endless spikes,
wrap your flesh around you like a robe,
   its shape stretched and pulled,
shrunken, unknowable.
   You think to tie it.
To stitch flesh to itself, cut and button
   it like a suit to fit your bones again.
The trick, though,
   is just to let it hang,
and shift, bend, break your body
   until you match its shape.

 

Light at the End of the Universe

I glimpsed its fallen glow beneath my workbench.
A young rabbit, fur smooth and brown,
huddled in shadows thrown

by wood scraps and hung paintbrushes.
It was dead, though no blood stained the concrete
and no wound marred its perfect form.

It probably darted inside the garage
when I wasn’t watching, and I trapped
it unknowingly overnight. I imagined

how terrified it must have been, panting
in hot and dusty darkness until its heart seized.
Or maybe it eventually chose to dive

into the lightlessness that waits in all of us,
embracing the unknown it knew
over an alien and unfathomable tomb.

I scooped it up and took it outside
to the patch of vines climbing the fence.
I nestled it into the green, and in its eye

there was a pale and dim cloud,
like the glow of stars long dead
making its soft way through space.

 

Samuel T. Franklin is sometimes a writer. An avid fan of The Boss, woodworking, and watching his vegetable garden cling miserably to life, he currently lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in English, and will always have a soft spot for cheery, structurally questionable apartments. His first book, The God of Happiness, is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag.

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