FLORIDA MAN by Tyler Gillespie

by Tyler Gillespie 

And that spring a man beat his
94-year-old grandma
then ran off with her jewelry
and SUV. Judge set bail
at $77,000, said man cannot
ever contact her (in critical
condition). Week earlier
I had moved home, back in with
my own grandma. At 29,
hadn’t lived in Florida
for nearly six years. I heard
of this senior attack on
the six o’clock news.

From our dinner table,
my family—Mom, little
brother, step dad, grandma—
watched: Invasive man
eating Nile crocodiles
had been found in a FL swamp.
More aggressive than American
Alligators. “They didn’t swim
from Africa,” a herpetologist
said. “But we don’t know how
they got into the wild.”

We ate burgers, an inside
picnic: Dishes of potato
salad, baked beans. Another
picture of the grandson flashed
on the screen. I always get
nervous when I find a violent
man attractive. “We’ll
obviously follow this story
every step of the way,”
an anchor assured. “You’ll get
updates as the case develops.”

Weatherman said
it’s a record high. Nearby sea
choppy. There’s a strong east wind.

Tyler Gillespie is the palest Floridian you’ll ever meet. His poems appear in Apogee Journal, Columbia Poetry Review, PANK, Juked, Exposition Review, Hobart, and Prelude, among other places. Find him at TylerMTG.com.

Hear Tyler’s poem and more virtual poetry from Cleaver on our SoundCloud podcast On The Edge.

Image credit: Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

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