Katherine Gaffney

Definition of a Floridian

Florida is where we stretch America’s southern hand
into the ocean with no southern accent in our mouths.
Beach is not sex, but the memory of sand-
slogged swimsuit bottoms after squatting
in the surf. Barefoot walks are not for summer
when the sun bakes asphalt hot enough to brand
our soles. Winter is for open windows, the time
we don’t curse the sun. Thunderstorms are our summer
clocks. Palm Sunday is every Sunday. Feet don Uggs
with the slightest nontropical breeze. We define glacial
as seventy degrees or below. Locals bronze through
sunscreen while tourists lobster in oil. Hurricanes are when
we congregate to see the sea boil.

Katherine Gaffney is heading into the third year of her MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has previously appeared and is upcoming in Lullwater Review, the Madison Review Online, Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose and elsewhere. She lives in Champaign, Illinois in a little blue house.