Two Poems (Alex Gurtis)

Mourning in Florida

I watch the tabebuias wave yellow aprons
as they dance around the lake.
Today my grandmother became an ocean.
She is now the pull of the tide along 
the Maryland shore. Women like her fill 
at least the Atlantic Basin if not the Pacific too 
and, somehow, she is now even the saltwater intrusion 
seeping into the lake I am now wading in 
to pull a bottle cap out of my grandmother’s hair. 
While my grandmother has become an ocean, 
the sea level rise, and the tide, the tabebuias 
are still waving branches of gold filled with songbirds 
that are helping me conduct a private memorial service
that has now become a baptism of life. 


With the faint pulse of a potluck 
Society trades in crisp, green metaphors 
People criticize your dreams 
Stop summoning the devil 
You can’t marry the moon
being sad isn’t a real job 
search the stars for truth 
with the avoidance of sound 
Hope is not a feeling but an action 
A river to be crossed often in this lifetime


Maryland born but Florida bred, Alex Gurtis is a poet and journalist based in Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared in the EcoTheo Review, Variety Pack, Montana Mouthful, among others. A believer in leaving the world a little better than we found it, he is the founder of the Orlando Chess Club, a local 501(c) that strives to changes lives through chess. Alex is a MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.


image: Lindsay Hargrave