soft shell


Everything is weapons-grade

humankind has curdled

I’ve stopped writing any books

but today I saved a turtle.

3 miles from the nearest stream

an inch from Family Dollar

his ancient flipper finger hooks

paddled trash like water.

Chickens to the slaughter plant,

and all trees must be felled,

but northbound Hwy 27

didn’t split his leather shell.

He turned and turned in circles

waiting to get canned

in a styrofoam beer cooler

I put him in my van.

One wetland they have yet to drain

sunglow upon scum

by some fucking miracle, there

he’ll live to 51.

I fail most days to keep my grip

to not yell at my kids

to notice propaganda—

today, I lift the lid

and down into mosquito mud

his flapping flippers flew

teeming sparkling fauna rot

his spouted nose subsumed

he gave us all the glorious slip

and a piece of me went too;

god shrugs at the buzzing saw,

today, I save you

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