Risking the Road
a turtle's crossing
I should have trusted instinct, followed the impulse,
but there was no shoulder,
just two blades of lane, impenetrable
shield of tall grasses bounding sprouting fields
beyond, so I didn't stop. I wished her well,
she straddled the line. Hovering where she could
turn back, just as easy. Or as hard. Back
across the hard-won pavement, down to the thick
of things again. Back-down. Or ahead to a clear
spot barely visible on the horizon.
Exposed, but open. She'd made it this far
already, over the dark rock of a foreign
land, with its sudden wind, enveloping roar
that nearly lifted her off her feet. For sun,
perhaps, trusting instinct, she'd come this far.
I wished her speed, to cross the road unharmed.
Later, visit to father's stifling done,
I come back along the road, freedom beckoning
from my own far horizon. I almost believe
she's made it. Whole body the size of a human
head, hard and thick, but beneath bone bleeds
the softest tissue. Split it open
and she's dead. Halfway across
the other lane, within arm's reach
of her resting point, almost safe.
Shell cracked, tissue bright in the breach.
Wishing is not enough.