One-eyed now, with a stump for one leg
and a wide healed-over shell-crack,
an ochre-blotched box turtle sets out
across the hot asphalt in a rapid ragtime
whish-whish-thump, whish-whish-thump.

Is it just plain stupidity, belying the innumerable
worn annuations on the shell-scutes?
Or is it simply absolute determination?
Whatever the answer may be, the red-freckled eye
stares unswerving through the heat-shimmered morning
as he crosses that road again.

November 19, 2002

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