Archaeopteryx, an Elegy

By Gina Franco Gina Franco
As soon as possible, I will confront the wren’s
              doings, rinse the white streaks from the porch bricks
drawing lizards from their shade, the immediate
              smell of water too much for all of us.
But first is lunch. The remains we’ll scatter over
              the driveway away from the bricks. Wrens come,
crusts from our dishes make drama. Then history.

What is possible in memory is disingenuous.
              Limestone, impressed with the archaic smile
of bone and reptilian wrists, wishbones and feathers,
              describes. It cups the transitional form,
naturally selecting one’s best side. There was
              the time you forgot your legs no longer
could recall how to stand—then rose up straight and sang

              You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me

Probably I’ve been thinking of that since August.
              The indelible wrens grate like shovels
outside—exhumed, one voice rises from wilderness,
                            settles, rests
                                          —then another, and,
between them, the keep of an unerring quiet.

Gina Franco, “Archaeopteryx, an Elegy” from The Keepsake Storm. Copyright © 2004 by Gina Franco. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: The Keepsake Storm (University of Arizona Press, 2004)

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Poet Gina Franco

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Nature, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Sciences

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

 Gina  Franco


Gina Franco was born and raised in Clifton-Morenci, Arizona. She earned degrees from Smith College and from Cornell University. She is the author of The Keepsake Storm (2004), which includes poems that explore an uneasy alliance between the vehemence of memory and the surrealism of narrative, especially in light of language, place, faith, and identity.

“Franco's poems,” Alice Fulton says, “enact the thrill of alchemy and . . .

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Poems by Gina Franco

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Nature, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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