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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 267 words
By George Franklin

Funeral Rites

I told my oldest son that I wanted my ashes 
Dumped off the back of a vaporetto when none 
Of the crew was looking, maybe somewhere 
Between Fondamenta Nove and Murano. 
I thought of myself floating slowly down into 
The Venetian lagoon as fish opened their 
Mouths to swallow flecks of human ash, 
And whatever wasn’t eaten mixing with 
Mud and sand, algae, and twisted seaweed. 
I imagine him afterwards wondering what 
To do with the jar that had held the ashes. 
Throw it away, or take it back to New Jersey 
In his suitcase? Would this present a problem 
At customs? Would smears of me and grains 
Of unburned bone still cling to the inside? 
Maybe he should dump the jar as well, but 
It would be more obvious, perhaps a muffled 
Thump as it hit the water. Drawing unwanted 
Attention would be no help to anyone. Finally, 
He decides to chance it, and just drops the 
Container somewhere before the second stop 
On Murano. He gets off there, goes for a short 
Walk, looking for the iron bridge and the restaurant 
Where we went for risotto and fried calamari. 
But now, that restaurant either isn’t there anymore 
Or he’s missed it, and it’s starting to rain. So, he 
Catches another vaporetto and goes back 
To a stop he recognizes. The rain will have 
Let up by then, I hope, and he’ll find a café 
And order a caffè corretto in my honor, feeling 
The warmth of espresso and grappa as it 
Reaches all the way to his stomach and his 
Wind-chilled hands. 


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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