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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 274 words
By George Franklin

Sleeping Dogs

I’m tired of writing about what’s no 
Longer here, the sun rising over 
A parking lot in Cambridge, the dog 
Chewing the doorframe whenever we 
Left him alone, a black male chow with 
Attachment issues, a fear-biter 
Who had to be tied to a cage door 
To be examined by a vet. I 
Used to dream about him long after 
He died from kidney problems. This is 
What I mean: what more is there to say 
About him, about that empty space 
In my twenties, the marriage where we 
Fought across multiple states, the chow 
Left in the car with the windows cracked 
While we ate at a truck stop? He ripped 
Deep holes in the back seat, a message 
About exclusion and being on 
The wrong side of a revolution. 
He used to jump through closed windows when 
He’d see a squirrel outside, leaving 
Broken glass all over but somehow 
Not getting cut himself. The squirrels 
Always got away. Just because I 
Still think about it doesn’t make it 
Important or a metaphor for 
A marriage where we blamed each other 
For every disappointment. Once in 
That apartment in Cambridge, he was 
Chasing something in his sleep, his legs 
Kicking—barks, growls from between his teeth. 
My wife tried to wake him. His head turned. 
He bit her—not hard, but enough to 
Make her cry out and run for the door. 
He chased her, waking up somewhere in 
The living room. There was no squirrel 
Or neighbor’s cat. Whatever it was 
Had gotten away. For two days, we talked 
About having the vet put him down—
Finally decided against it. 

George Franklin’s
Issue 23 (April 2024)

most recent poetry collections are Remote Cities (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2023), and a collaboration with Colombian poet Ximena Gómez, Conversaciones sobre agua/Conversations About Water (Katakana Editores, 2023). He and Ximena Gómez also co-translated her book Último día/Last Day.

Franklin’s poems appear in Another Chicago Magazine, Cultural Daily, The Decadent Review, The Lake, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Solstice. In 2023, he was the first prize winner of the W. B. Yeats Poetry Prize. He practices law in Miami and teaches writing workshops in Florida prisons.

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

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