Alan Kurdi

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.


Basement Apartment

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 ReviewFickle MusesM 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