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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 217 words
By George Franklin

Alcestis

 
We can all agree: the husband wasn’t worth the sacrifice. 
When Death came to fetch her, he probably thought 
Something similar and must have been tempted to give her up 
To Heracles without a fight. Still, principles are principles, 
And he went ahead with the wrestling match. Heracles 
Was still a bit drunk, but truth be told, Death doesn’t 
Wrestle very well. The big guys are usually not a problem. 
Either they’re keeled over on the toilet like Elvis, or they’re 
Too depressed to struggle—old football injuries and concussions 
Take their toll. But Death put up a good fight that time. 
He knew this one would be talked about, one way or the other, 
And he didn’t want the Fates making quiet, ironic jokes 
As they cut the thread of some fisherman’s or baker’s life: 
Death, do you think you can handle this one? Some people 
Say he even cheated a little, pulling the demigod’s long 
Hair, trying for a kick down below—none of it worked. 
And all the time, Alcestis’ spirit lay there watching. Her face 
Betrayed no sign of interest. If she grieved at giving up her life, 
She didn’t show it. Perhaps, she could already see herself walking 
The banks of Lethe, then drinking deep to forget she had ever married. 

George Franklin
Issue 12, March 2022

is the author of four poetry collections: 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). Individual publications include: Cagibi, Into the Void, Sequestrum, The Threepenny Review, Verse Daily, Pedestal Magazine, and The American Journal of Poetry. He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida prisons, and co-translated, along with the author, Ximena Gómez’s Último día / Last Day (Katakana Editores).

Author’s website: https://gsfranklin.com/

 
 
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