In My Next Life

I want to come back right
into this one, pick up right here
when all of us are home, and most
of us are okay—maybe not ecstatic but
who can be that all of the time and wouldn’t it be
enough, coming back, to just be
okay? Is there a place I can guarantee
this moment, this particular evening with its slim
sky and beaten grass and dirt-worn
children and my husband with his wide
shoulders and bannister arms, his mouth sad
because the day is sucked under now, tide out
and back again which means all of it is gone—the frisbee,
the worry, our youngest’s fastball pitch, the unfortunate tick
boring into my skin and which my husband extracted with
needle nosed tweezers probably right
as the tick transmitted Lyme into me, maybe doing nothing
or maybe causing future aches or devastation, the tick
now a tiny heap of itself, flushed down with the day and its
wonder of pre-summer in which each stalk, sedum,
bindweed, Boomerang Lilac comes back against improbably
odds—winter, draught, rodentia, neglect— right to the same place,
same branch, same patch of scrub blooming as
though shaking its head, yes, I’m back
and what of it? Are you good, they seem to ask,
are you more than that, are you okay again?

Emily Franklin

EMILY FRANKLIN’s work has been published or is forthcoming in the New York Times, The Cincinnati Review, Shenandoah, New Ohio Review, Blackbird, The Journal, Shenandoah, DIAGRAM, Mississippi Review, Lunch Ticket, Passages North, North Dakota Review, Qu, Juked, and The Chattahoochee Review among other places as well as featured on National Public Radio, and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. Her first poetry collection is forthcoming from Terrapin Books.

Contributions by Emily Franklin