Any migration is forced

Poetry, fiction, and musings by Sara Comito

The Florida is falling! The Florida is falling!

America’s dangling appendage is going to just up and drop off into the water. Maybe we’re dipping our toe into global catastrophe at first, seeing how economically depressed communities in our ill-considered cities deal with it.

Oh, and we’ve got a massive water and air quality issue you may have heard something about. Whatevs.

It’s a beautiful place, and I manage to have a good time of it. It just feels like our country’s wang is trying to shake us off, like after a decent morning pee. And who could blame him? We are parasites, and the whole business should go back to the Calusa. Would that it could – they were a mighty people.

The author inland

Our maritime playground despoiled, I went inland. I wrote a poem that Nixes Mate – out of my dearly missed Massachusetts (and likely much romanticized in my own thinking. Don’t we all have our problems?) – published. Kind thanks to the many-talented Michael McInnis and the team there.

Putting poetry on the map

Saw Palm journal, published by the University of South Florida, is creating a literary map of the state for its Places to Stand project. So go play tourist, and choose a push pin of a place you’ve been, dreamed about, or hope never to set foot in again. You’ll get the perspective of an essayist or poet and see through their eyes what it’s like to stand on that spot!

I noticed a lack of marked geography inland of Fort Myers, my fair city, and little to no play for the Caloosahatchee River, the much tortured waterway that offers nonetheless buckets of history, mystique, and the makings of tall tales – not to mention some wacky weather.

If you zoom in on the southwest part of the peninsula, locate Fort Myers and click on the pin there to mark the Edison Bridge. You’ll get to “see” the city and river through my eyes, or at least through a poem called “Sky.” Tell me what you think. Worth sending a postcard home?

Lit with a southern accent

I’ve lived on the Florida peninsula for almost two decades. It’s a trope that a tiny fraction of that is enough to qualify one as a naturalized citizen. I’ve spent time with fourth- and fifth-generation Floridians, though. These people’s people endured floods, sleeping without air conditioning, mosquito control that consisted of a switch fashioned of palm fronds, and the onslaught of feckless northerners looking to cash in on their Disney dreams. Self-proclaimed Florida crackers are tough cookies and tend to suffer us fools if not gladly, then with laconic indulgence. 

Any claim I could make to southernness would be tenuous at best. Yet sometimes my literary approach to certain themes positively drips with Spanish moss. A friend recently remarked that upon previewing a new flash fiction piece for me, “I went right into a southern accent.”

Naturally I was delighted, but I also became curious about the journals out there that specialize in southern literature and southern writers. The always fabulous Review Review has a fine list. Of course, it’s not comprehensive, and neglects to mention remarkable places like the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature – come for the lit, stay for the Southern Legitimacy Statements by the authors, always entertaining. But it’s good to be reminded that lit with a southern accent continues to be celebrated and showcased with deserved prominence, even if Toad Suck Review seems to be defunct?! Oh no!

In the winter I sleep under the stars while bull gators ripple the creek with their subsonic bellows. Swamp water courses through my veins. The pulse of tree frogs and cicadas tick off expanding eternities since the original people, the Calusa, ruled so capably over their civilization, right here, thousands of years ago, effectively repelling the Spanish for generations. Relatively speaking, I guess we’re all newcomers wherever we end up. It’s fun to play with that tension in our prose. Which pieces and journals do that remarkably well for you?

Reviewing “Show Her A Flower, A Bird, A Shadow” by Peg Alford Pursell

Jonathan Cardew kindly invited me to review Peg Alford Pursell’s collection, Show Her A Flower, A Bird, A Shadow (WTAW Press, 2017) for the Microviews feature of Bending Genres, the energetic and quirky journal/workshop/retreat enterprise run by dear friends Robert Vaughan and Meg Tuite.

It was an honor to engage so intimately with Peg’s beautiful book – and a challenge to crystallize my impressions within 100-300 words of blog real estate. You can read my tiny review here.

Two at MockingHeart Review

To negate the stagnant energy the wet season, this Southwest Florida poet has two exceedingly arid pieces now published at MockingHeart Review. Rain, rain, go away! I’ll dedicate these to Louisiana with love, where the beautiful journal is presented by Clare L. Martin with her team of dedicated folks. Even before potentially reaching hurricane status in the upper Gulf Coast, I say, Gordon can go ahead and get lost.

Texas radio, 1971

The desert does things to you: there was music, and the shadow of a man, and maybe a little madness. Thank you, Michael Dwayne Smith and the wonderful people at Mojave River Review for publishing my poem Texas radio, 1971 in the latest issue. Please have a read. This magazine is BIG and beautiful! I also need to give props to American Poet Jim Morrison. You’ll see what I mean.

The germ suspended

Thank you to Bending Genres for publishing my ekphrastic piece, The germ suspended. This poem grew from a workshop at the Bending Genres Synergia Ranch retreat this spring in beautiful New Mexico. Thank you, Meg Tuite and Robert Vaughan. Such great friends and mentors.

If you enjoy this piece, afterwards you can view the “germ” of inspiration in the painting “Elective Affinities” and read about Rene Magritte’s very different interpretation of his own work.

Buried – Sara Comito

Foxglove Journal

You can get a horse as soon

as you get a backhoe big

enough to bury it, Momma

told her. Likewise, she didn’t

have the smarts to bother

with college.

Down the pier a sailor smoked

and mended his net. Feeling her

stare, he pegged her for

lonely, took her out to sea.

Momma didn’t get a husband

til she had a big enough knife.

The net was big enough for this

new catch, but – Momma

will be missing me.

His face cracked with years

of salt like those sore, handknitted

knots. Swells made false islands

of horizon. Seven miles and you

lose the land, he says.

The distance she can’t

make sense of. It folds itself

into a wave she could ride

all the way back there and bury

everything. But she can’t


Is it big enough?

Bio photoSara Comito is a writer living in Fort Myers. Her…

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Versed in Florida

I am a poet, and I live in Florida. The Fort Myers NPR affiliate, WGCU Public Media, decided to feature me as the Florida poet of the month for March. I had a cold. Turns out I sound a little sultry with a cold. I hope you enjoy the interview, which has been posted in four segments:

Many thanks for Mad Hatter’s Review for originally publishing “All drains lead to the sea,” which I read in the first segment.

Ramshackle Review graciously published “Listing,” featured in the second segment.

I’m grateful to Blue Fifth Review for publishing “The smell of honey,” from the third segment.

Thank you, The Anemone Sidecar, for publishing “Florida dreams of Peru,” which I read in the final segment.