Gina Franco


Here, we said, in this place. 
Here we will bury our dead. 
While the winter leaves still
drift and rot in the clouds 
of ice spreading in the black 
water, the lake a long night 
pulled taut like a wet sheet 
over a face. The face a hole,
a sucking cave, where the sun
sinks and sets the lake ablaze. 
The blaze troubled by the dog
whose wake shakes the dream
of the pure mirror surface,
who’s broken the bloodshot
heavens open, his head buoyant,
rippling through rippling trees 
for geese while geese remain
farther out, lifting their dripping
necks and wings from shadow
wings and necks. With ease 
the flock takes flight as one
each time—escape the tired 
pointer treads and treads, 
muscling the burn to reach  
whatever hell lies after muscle 
gives way to the wide 
in the deep—

Gina Franco is the author of The Accidental (2019 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, University of Arkansas Press) and The Keepsake Storm (University of Arizona Press). She has new work appearing or forthcoming with American Poetry Review, AGNI, Image, Narrative, and 2020 The Orison Anthology. She teaches at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.