The Wars Against Florida

by Dan Hanna

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I wish the train were here; Father’s riding it.
We’re going to Disneyland.

The station has brown boards that we walk on, and they
are wet from the rain from this morning.
I heard an old man say to the man selling the tickets
that the wood is not real wood.

Then he looked at me and said that
I would get plastic splinters in my feet if I were to walk about barefoot.
I said I wasn’t barefoot.

Aunt Rachel, who is waiting with me, says Daddy has had to change trains.
She says he will now meet me in Georgia.
Aunt Rachel says that it will be no scarier than riding on a roller coaster.
She says this knowing that it will make it easier for me to ride alone.

Mother appeared cross this morning as she helped me put on my sweater.
She said, “Florida is just smelly canals separated
by sand dunes.”
She hates Florida.
She says, “Florida is just a sandy marsh.”

I tell her it’s like a bunch of islands hooked together.
And that some of the islands are sponges.
She says I will need to be careful and hold onto Daddy’s hand.
“Walking on sponges must be difficult,” I say, “but if Daddy can do it, so can I.”
“And, he will be there to help me walk on them.”
Mother smiles and reminds me that Disneyland is different, and that I will have lots of fun.

A long time ago, She told me it was sinking.
She said this as we drove home without Daddy.
I don’t believe it is sinking; they gave us candy.

Daddy let Mommy and I onto the rides.
Then he backed away and watched as we spun and tossed.
He watched us like he had never seen us before.
Our heads were pulled left, then right, and then back again.
We pointed to him and he laughed, and then he pointed back, and we laughed.
When the ride ended, he told us to watch the fireworks. We all looked up.

Afterward, I was tired and needed rest but I didn’t know it.
In our room, Mommy is fixing her hair and putting things into boxes.
Daddy chases me around the room like a man trying to save a boy from a burning well.
Mommy is happy because everyone is happy.

When I was eight, I thought Disney was the center of the earth.
Aunt Rachel says that it is because one day
she stood in all four directions at once
and she could not see herself.

Dan Hanna lives in Pennsylvania. He is a former library clerk who still enjoys spying on people as they peer into books. He is currently writing a kid’s novel and studying for an undergraduate degree.

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