poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“This poem is, in part, an exploration of the human mind’s capacity to escape the limitations of body, place, time, and circumstance. While deliberately utilizing the restraint of meter, it meditates on the duality of the hopeful and the tragic—themes that I am exploring in my current work.”

—Jennifer Franklin

Waiting Again for Biopsy Results from the Second Floor Exercise Room

Jennifer Franklin

I glimpse the tulips every two seconds.
They arrived late this year. Those who planted

The bulbs must not have considered how they
Would look from here—red, paired with pink dogwood.

Seven umbrellas float by; only one
Inverts. Ammonia swathed on the machines

Makes this walk to nowhere less appealing.
A police car patrols the next window

Where a dingy white van remains parked. It
Is difficult to discern if it’s still

Raining. Two bridges (I have crossed neither)
And the asylum for the criminally

Insane loom across the estuary.
An old woman obscured by a plum cloche

Appears to hail a taxi but after
One stops, it’s clear that she is waving to

Children who laugh as they glide past. She turns
And exits my view. I will try to eat

Six green things today and nothing white. A
Flash dance mob and you are as likely to

Appear. My tiny bottle of perfume
Is almost empty. It sits alone, a

Deluxe sample, on the pink tray I bought
Last century in Florence. I don’t know

If I’ll buy a bottle—still unable
To find, at forty, my signature scent.

The postman slumps against the fountain, his
Body the heaviest load that he has

To carry. How much rain would it take for
The fountain to overflow? I wish I

Hadn’t been too self-conscious to learn the
Basics of the Argentine tango in

The three lessons before the wedding in
Thessaloniki. Ever since I read

Bronte, I refuse to use an umbrella
And pretend I’m walking the moors even

In the city. I am never where I
Am. If I told you what I look forward

To, I couldn’t bear your pity. I would
Not do any of this without music.

This room is a drenched rag of desire,
Even when it’s empty. It is not too

Late to learn something new, even with this
Trach scar and three letters in my desk drawer.

Nine dogs saunter past, smelling the sidewalk.
The weather does not seem to bother them.

It is too early to be this dark out.
I don’t want to leave the building today.

Copyright @ 2014 by Jennifer Franklin. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 10, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Jennifer Franklin. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 10, 2014.

Jennifer Franklin

Jennifer Franklin is the author of Looming (Elixir Press, 2015). She teaches at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, is coeditor of Slapering Hol Press, and lives in New York City.