At the intersection of Krome and Tamiami Trail,
Semi’s nudge up against each other by the gas pumps,
The thick rubber of their tires gray with all
The loads they’ve carried, the roadkill that’s pressed
Inside the tread, traces of fur and bone and the smell
Of animal rot, corpse juice and asphalt. At
Miccosukee Casino, the sign’s electronic red
“SLOT MACHINES” pulsates high enough to
Be seen above hardwood, miles. The steel pole that
Lifts it is thicker than any tree trunk in the Everglades.
In the banquet hall off the lobby, waiters are dressed
In white shirts and black pants, mostly older men and
Women, their eyes tired from looking at chicken
And peas, tres leches for dessert—the casino itself
Is a brown cube projected into the sky, elongated.
A century from now, it will still be here, metal
Windows of the hotel rooms rusting around the edges,
Sawgrass covering the parking lot. A mile and a half
West, there’s a prison on the left, quiet fences and
Wire lining the road, surrounding a small lake where no
One fishes. A group of new recruits, corrections officers,
Jog together, making a loop along the tarmac. If you
Keep driving, there’s Indian Village and airboat rides
Where they pass out earplugs to dull the noise of
The motor and the fan pushing the flat-bottomed
Machine over wet grass and mud—the tourists
Who sit in the front get splashed with swamp water
And shriek wildly to let everyone know they’re
Having a good time. Alligators crawl out of the way.
George Franklin is the author of two poetry collections: Traveling for No Good Reason (winner of the Sheila-Na-Gig Editions competition in 2018) and a bilingual collection, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas, translated by Ximena Gómez (Katakana Editores), as well as a recent broadside, “Shreveport,” published by Broadsided Press. Individual publications include: The Lake, Into the Void, The Threepenny Review, Salamander, Pedestal Magazine, Cagibi, and The American Journal of Poetry (forthcoming). He practices law in Miami and teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons.