Florida


The first palm trees in Florida are also the last,

the last you’ll see if you ever leave:

sixteen Sabal palmettos on the Georgia line

off the northbound shoulder of I-75.

By adverse possession, Michigan connects to Florida—

The only geography you need to know.

Leave the house keys; take what little you have left.

This state is a sump you have drained into,

your final destination, your permanent staycation.

You stand at the rest stop, Swisher Sweet in hand,

imagining there’s a Fountain of Vodka somewhere.

A Honda Odyssey pulls out, “Disney World!” soaped on a window.

They should make stick figure decals,

for people who have lost everything.

Act like someone who couldn’t possibly have

a two-liter Pepsi bottle filled with pseudoephedrine and battery acid

simmering under a beach towel next to your unwashed clothes.

Stare into the woods and wonder what lies within the scrub:

maybe a panther, elusive, extinction-bound; both of you,

species native and diminished, invasive and manifest.

Feral pigs and abandoned pets, various diners of carrion,

alligators at the bottom of retention ponds,

God knows how many Burmese Pythons—

they’ve all been waiting for you.

Welcome to Florida.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked