Begin with strips of light left over from
Splicing reels of celluloid: an image
Of a woman’s hand, a horse bolting,
Bees circling a flower, slanted sunlight,
The horse’s hooves, and motes of pollen.
A man and a woman walking somewhere
Isolated—while a trolley car winds
Through Zurich, Einstein
Thinks relativity into being, the woman’s
Hand holds on to a railing, the ship
Pulls away, and dinner waits steaming
On the table, but the chairs are empty.
During the blitz, a Polish refugee plays
Mozart in the tube beneath Trafalgar Square.
Walls crumble. Some moments are black and
White and even silent. Others are in colors so
Rich they make our eyes hurt—but on a small
Table gloved fingers flatten and assemble the
Curling strips, rearrange them into one order and
Then another. In this story, the hero survives.
In that one, he dies. The poem can open
And close the same way regardless. Bees
Circle a flower. Autumn sunlight. A woman’s hand.
George Franklin practices law on Miami Beach, teaches writing in Florida prisons, and even subs for the occasional yoga class. He received his MFA from Columbia and his PhD from Brandeis. His poems have been published in Salamander, The Threepenny Review, Verse, The Ghazal Page, and Vending Machine Press, and his criticism has been published in ELH.