The following was published in the summer 2019 issue of The Avocet. It was inspired by an incident that happened several years ago while I was visiting my brother and his family in Florida. My sister-in-law took the photo of the alligator. You can click on the poem’s title to hear me read it.
A warm afternoon under a cloudless Florida sky,
we float down the Loxahatchee River.
I sit on the canoe bottom,
cramped, while brother and sister-in-law paddle.
It suddenly appears.
Not a snake, but just as deadly,
it stands on the bank,
gazes at its reflection in the gleaming water.
I don’t see it—my family does.
After snapping a picture,
we sail far, far away
while icy fingers of fear massage my spine.
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