by Jennifer Franklin

After the hurricane, came the hurricane. Three women willing to ruin their lives. First, there was a heat wave, then the cold came without warning. We buckled sandals on our feet one day, slipped them into boots the next. The coats hung, lonely on the backs of chairs. We whispered the news to each other so the children wouldn’t hear how frightened we were to hear rape called horseplay.

Hannah Arendt wrote, “In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”

The man I loves rarely drinks. Yet he has taken to ordering gin. I ask him if he’s thinking of Winston Smith. He says he’s thinking of getting through the next two years. My daughter holds his hand on the way home from the restaurant. This court will rule her rights away. Still, we walk the rain soaked sidewalks to the lit building by the river. The lights are on for the dog who waits in a circle in her grey bed. My girl skips down the wide avenue. For once, I am relieved she cannot read or understand the story on everyone’s lips.

Jennifer Franklin (AB Brown University, MFA Columbia University School of the Arts) is the author of two full collections, most recently No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018). Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewBlackbird, Boston Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, JAMA, Love’s Executive Order, The Nation, Paris Review, Plume, “poem-a-day” on, and Prairie Schooner. She teaches poetry manuscript revision at the Hudson Valley Writers Center, where she runs the reading series and serves as Program Director. She lives in New York City.

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