Two Years Later

Photograph: © Jeffrey Chapman. All rights reserved.

for Ximena Gómez

Two years ago, we flew to Colombia.  Your father
Had died in Cali, and you’d asked that the funeral

Be delayed until we arrived.  His body waited for us,
Dressed in neatly pressed clothes, in bronze make-up

To give his cheeks color.  Your nephew put a drawing
In the casket, and everything went smoothly

Like the conveyor belt that took your father behind
A curtain and on to cremation, there or somewhere else—

I wasn’t sure.  We stayed in San Antonio, far away
From your family and your friends, whitewashed buildings,

Narrow sidewalks, and terracotta tiles, a steep hill
Leading up to a church—at night, motorcycles

And people dancing, cafés with the hiss of
Espresso machines, couples standing in doorways,

Talking in low voices.  We stayed in San Antonio,
And we walked on the narrow sidewalks and smelled

The coffee and rolls coming from the bakery, the
Only place open on Sunday morning.  Two years

Isn’t that long, but long enough for everything to change,
For the world to have stopped, to have buried its dead,

Restarted, stopped again, and buried more.  All the while,
In a neighborhood in Miami of wooden townhouses, half-empty

Malls, and apartment buildings that are showing their age,
We’ve done what they call “sheltering in place,” waiting

For the sickness to be over, the equilibrium to return.
We still hold each other at night, lips touching lips,

Hands tracing the contours of our bodies, reminding
Each other that we’re still alive, still full of memories

Of walking down narrow sidewalks, of whitewashed
Buildings, of music spilling out of clubs and restaurants,

Of rough sheets that still smell of the laundry, of desire
Stronger than grief.

About the Author

George Franklin is the author of a new full-length collection, Noise of the World (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions), Traveling for No Good Reason (winner of the Sheila-Na-Gig Editions competition in 2018), a dual-language collection, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas (Katakana Editores), and a chapbook, Travels of the Angel of Sorrow (Blue Cedar Press). He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day (Katakana Editores).

Appears In

Issue 14

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