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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 239 words
By George Franklin

Orphic Mysteries

Orpheus sits at the bar of Outback Steakhouse. 
He orders a sirloin medium rare and finishes it quickly, 
Along with a potato and sour cream, bacon on the side. 
His lyre rests by his feet because he wants to leave 
The stool next to him open. Just because Eurydice’s gone 
For good doesn’t mean someone else won’t come along. 
It’s dark, so you’d struggle to see that he’s not wearing pants, 
Just a chiton tied at the waist and, because it’s winter, 
A length of wine-colored wool draped over his shoulders. 
The woman who sits down grins and orders an old fashioned. 
She asks if he’s an actor in a show. Orpheus picks up 
The lyre to work his magic, but the noise of plates and conversation 
Is just too loud. He asks if she’d like to go outside, but that seems 
A little fast under the circumstances. She demurs. The bartender 
Considers alerting security, then holds off. A buzzer nearby 
Starts to vibrate and flash a red light. Someone’s table is ready, 
But Orpheus doesn’t know that. He makes for the door without 
Paying and would have gotten there, but he trips over 
A pair of legs waiting for a table, an old man who lets out 
A scream as Orpheus falls. Two waiters drag him to his feet 
And remind him about his unpaid check. After some discussion, 
They take the lyre as collateral. 


George Franklin
Issue 14, August 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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