Last night, I threw apples out back for
The possums, or maybe the rats. You
Can never know which will find them first.
The apples were the green kind and had
Stayed on the table too long, their skins
Dry and wrinkly. In the dark, I threw
Them in the direction of the fence.
The grass is high over there, the vines
Untrimmed. I don’t know where they landed.
Throwing an apple in the dark is
An exercise in uncertainty.
You never know what will find it or
What trouble you might be causing. I
Remember getting a call one day
That the backyard was full of huge birds.
My Doberman killed a snake, I guess,
And then may have killed a raccoon or
Possum—by then, it was hard to tell
Which—that was trying to eat the snake.
Some buzzards got wind of this and packed
The yard, angling between themselves for
A shred of whatever was still left.
The dog did have a long history
Of snake-killing, but whatever was
Eating the snake might have killed it just
As easily, then choked on what he
Swallowed, and the poor dog barking at
The door may have played no part in it.
Even the buzzards don’t know for sure.
George Franklin is the author of Noise of the World, Traveling for No Good Reason, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas, and a chapbook, Travels of the Angel of Sorrow. He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons and is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day).