Fishbone bed and a grave
of sand. A dead crab washes ashore,
a plastic bottle bobs in seafroth
and green weeds. This is no place
for a boy. Someone will come.
A gull inflates like a lung
and floats on salty air. This
is no place for a boy.
Boiler is hissing in the corner
… like a time-bomb ready to blow,
and the dishes are black crusts
… in a sink full of spiderwebs
and a dirty line of soap scum. It’s evening,
… and red sunlight cuts
through the slit windows
… and drips over everything. Bill
nods to the back room and tells me
… that’s where they found the boy, his brains
all over the walls like someone
… had thrown a bowl of oatmeal, cold gun
on the floor. Been there for weeks.
… Neighbors thought rats had died
in the walls, the smell was so bad
… when it finally slipped up the winter pipes
and nestled into the furniture.
… Bill tells me I won’t hear about it
from the neighbors, at least the ones
… who might have heard the muffled shot
if they knew what to listen for. Doesn’t mean
… it didn’t happen. I ask him
for the boy’s name, but he can’t remember.
… Doesn’t mean he didn’t die. There’s
a guitar in a corner chair, neck as broken
… as a wrung chicken. I won’t let
these things slip. Even if I ever forget,
… doesn’t mean I didn’t know them.
Samuel T. Franklin is mostly from Indiana, by way of Clayton, Terre Haute, and Bloomington. The author of a book of poems titled The God of Happiness, his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Indianapolis Review, Fickle Muses, M Review, and others. He can often be found building semi-useful things out of wood scraps and losing staring contests with his cats. He can be reached at https://samueltfranklin.wordpress.com.