San Antonio

Cali, Colombia


Exhausted after the funeral, we went

To Café Macondo for dinner—sandwiches

And coffee, Coleman Hawkins’ “Body and Soul”


Circulating from a speaker, blond teenagers

Speaking Spanish to each other, an older couple

In the corner thumbing a book left on the table,


Science fiction in English.  In the front room,

A fan swept the cool night air in from the street.

A small skinny guy with a reflective vest


Patrolled the sidewalk, carrying an iron bar

In the crook of his arm.  I couldn’t help wondering

If he’d been FARC once—he didn’t look


Imposing enough for paramilitary.  Or, maybe

He was just a hungry Venezuelan who’d found

A job in the neighborhood.  Regardless, I


Wouldn’t want to get in his way.  Another night,

We came here with friends for dessert, that

White cheesecake topped with moras, blackberry


Compote.  There are memories you just want to

Rest in for a while.  Like this one.  It’s not

That you forget your losses, but you move them


To the side.  They become a frame around the picture,

And the picture surrounds the frame—low,

Whitewashed buildings and narrow streets with


Sidewalks mostly curb, taxis and motorcycles

Accelerating toward clubs, music—salsa or

Reggaeton or the flamenco echoing from a


Restaurant, a blaze of tungsten down the hill,

Where tourists at outside tables cradled beers,

And in the shadows, a heavyset man with a beret


And cane sat each night at the same spot,

Keeping an eye on the parked cars, nodding

To passersby to let them know he’s there.



George Franklin is the author of two poetry collections: Traveling for No Good Reason (winner of the Sheila-Na-Gig Editions competition in 2018) and a bilingual collection, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas (Katakana Editores), as well as a broadside, ‘Shreveport,’ published by Broadsided Press. Individual publications include: Matter Monthly, Into the Void, The Threepenny Review, Salamander, Pedestal Magazine, Cagibi, and The American Journal of Poetry. He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and most recently is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day (Katakana Editores).