Sunday Apr 14

FranklinJennifer Jennifer Franklin received an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts where she was a Harvey Baker Fellow. Her poems debuted in the Paris Review’s “Ten New Poets” issue. Her first full-length collection, Looming, won the 14th Annual Editor’s Prize from Elixir Press and was published in April 2015. Her poetry has appeared widely in anthologies, literary magazines, and journals including Antioch Review, Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, The Nation, New England Review, Pequod, Plume, "poem-a-day" on, Poetry Daily, Salmagundi, Southwest Review, Verse Daily, and Western Humanities Review. Her work has been translated into Romanian and Portuguese. A selection of her poetry is featured in Andrew Solomon’s award winning book, Far From the Tree. Franklin is co-editor of Slapering Hol Press, the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. She teaches poetry workshops and seminars at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and lives in New York City.

Nelson’s Sparrow

The only animal who ignores her instincts, she flies
into certain danger, feathers flat against her in fear.

Or she sits in wait for the predator she knows will
come. Her tiny heart whips her ribcage. He thinks

her orange head calls out for him to harm
her and he heeds. When he snaps her neck, no one

notices. No one digs ground for her little bones.
In the beginning, he is drawn to the sound

of her song, high and constant, like a light
left on in the dark to guide him home. Before

long, he tires of her pretty tune, too monotonous
to interest him for long. Too much like a lullaby

he does not want to recall. Too much like the love
he knows he does not deserve.

La Dame Blanche, Perigord

The caretaker did not find her
corpse until spring had already

forced the frigid air from the Dordogne.
She had entered the professor’s chimney,

searching for some solace from the cold
and quickly found she could not leave.

I understand how she was fooled by
the promise of protection. When he found

her mangled body, he was not surprised
that she was trapped in those cold confines

but how hard she tried to escape. Her white
feathers fell like snow as she flung herself

against the stone walls, seeking to soar
into one cut of sky. She tunneled her furious

frame forward, screeching, refusing
to accept that her wingspan and will

would never be enough to lift her again
into the waiting world.