Sawgrass Angel

Grey morning churned fog

along my eyes’ edges, a soupy slough

of muddy memories; our gazes met like Florida’s horizon,

mine: brown Everglades water,

his: blue Everglades sky.

The heat stroke shed details like discarded feathers,

sucked deep by swamp.


At Shark Valley, we biked 15 miles

and ran out of water halfway.  Ethan

laid me, delirious, by the side of the trail,

his sawgrass hair spreading cloudy tendrils into the air.

I closed my eyes, smelled mud and musk,

saw red tracks behind my eyelids,

heard ibises taking flight.


I woke surrounded by the white walls

of Heaven’s gift shop, clutching a tiny bell:

the clay bead clinked against the ceramic dome,

cool in my flushed hands.

At the ring, Ethan kneeled, eye-to-eye, mud-to-sky,

and promised I’d recover.

White ibis wings sprouted from his back.


Grey afternoon churned fog

along my eyes’ edges; my swamp spirit

with the glance of Everglades sky

trembled on lanky, just-hatched legs

as we piggy-backed across the doorframe

towards the car, my final


CASSIE HOTTENSTEIN graduated from the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in creative writing and writing studies. Her other work has appeared in PULP, Perversion Magazine, The Talon Review, Exothorpe, and The Tampa Review Online. She now lives in the Boulder, Colorado area with her husband and two pet rats.