Desperate Turtles

Photo by Parker Grice

Filling In

Dozens of desperate turtles crossed our yards
escaping suffocation from the bulldozer filling in
what my father called a sump hole and I called

a pond. All summer it was a dump for office waste.
I played with electrical wire a scientific madness.
I smeared tar all over my brand new jeans.

There were trees and thickets before that. One oak
was so large the trunk still stood, branches stripped.
I now sat in the crotch looking out over nothing

as far as I remember. I found a snapper’s shell
split open. Eggs. There was a mother inside
me hoping… for what? I took them home

and set them beneath the pine outside my window.
In the morning they were gone, nothing of what had been,
or of what had come, or of what I had ever hoped to tell.

Poem by J. Rodney Karr


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