Florida But the or sounds like The ar in—far From mountains and fall leaves, But close to fields of tangy clementines. Cities built on limestone. Arrows on the highway exit signs Point every way but north. An orange on my license plate But the or sounds like The ar in—apart Of a state Where the borders Are shaped like waves That make landfall, Coming and going Like emotions in the heat. Mosquitos in the winters Sting like splinters From docks that wade As the tides change, But the water Is always on the rise. Turtle in paradise, I sit under the southern sky Stuck in a shell. My mind sleeps in the eye of a hurricane While thunder cracks around me. I come from the sawgrass, Stolen land of the Seminoles Under the jurisdiction of DeSantis. One can hear the whip Of boat flags that fly Patriotically American But with gray and blue stripes. Politicians incinerate fields of sugarcane. Their smoke sounds like a whisper Purring Don’t Say Gay, But the true pawns in the games they play Are the people— Ovaries wards of the state, ICE in combat boots and uniform. Minoritized faces get deported, Their eyes watch god As they look up at the ball of fire That defines the sunshine state, But when they say her name, the or will sound Like the ar in—hard Like the bullet holes that pierce The walls of suburban high school classrooms.
Elizabeth Buehl is a student at Tufts University double majoring in Psychology and English on a pre-law track. Buehl is a coxswain on the Varsity Women’s Rowing Team and an executive on The Tufts Daily, a student-run newspaper. Buehl is planning to attend law school upon graduation from Tufts and is very passionate about creative writing.