Turtle Finds Himself Once Again Upon the Land
Turtle stands, claws digging dimples in the dirt,
wondering which direction to go. Everything is
possible in this new life granted by the Great Creator
in which he was able to relinquish the weight
of the Earth, suspend it from El Sol with clear celestial
ribbon of sewn-together star particles and neutrinos.
We’ve got to center it, Turtle had instructed, adjusting
the ribbon around the curls of light emanating,
endemic of El Sol’s brilliance. If the animals feel
the swing and tilt too much, the proliferation
of motion sickness will cover the roads in vomit,
making it impossible to travel between the 7 Wonders.
And it is not as though Turtle even truly wanted
to see the 7 Wonders, so much as he wanted
the opportunity to see them. Want begets want
and he knew if allowed to swell, the want would grow
toward desire and desire would point its knurled
finger toward a direction. This would be the path
Turtle would take. But when opened like a yard house
spigot, even desire can’t focus, so here Turtle found
himself standing, not sure where to go, his purpose
lifted, like the weight of seventy-five billion souls.
Turtle Wonders About Sex
Carrying the Earth on his back, Turtle
overheard the many sounds
of lust and longing. He felt the vibrations
of millions of beds and couches and cars,
tree branches and sand dunes rocking
to the rhythm of pleasure.
Never having the elasticity of neck
to crane and see, he spent the better part
of a millennium wondering how it worked,
whether it would be enjoyable enough
to risk the pain that seemed
so often to accompany it.
Turtle, though sore from the weight
of the Earth’s abundance, had never
bled and blood seemed a scary thing
and so he thought he might skip sex for now.
It caused rivers and rivers of blood
to flow and the smell of the iron
had always made Turtle’s stomach a bit queasy.
All in all, in whatever direction carnal knowledge lay,
he hoped to go the other way.
Turtle’s First Valentine’s Day
I’m slow glad you’re mine!
squalls in red letters above a rude
sketch of a turtle, head turned sideways,
one large eye ringed in white, staring
blindly from a heart-shaped box.
It’s filled with candy, the human says looking,
Turtle thinks, quite pleased with themself.
Using long, papery fingers
the human unwraps the plastic
and lifts the cardboard lid to reveal
small light and dark brown squares within.
In the millennium that Turtle held the earth
he often caught snatches of the sounds
of this day, a holiday, he admitted to himself,
he did not understand. Amongst crying,
he knew there were hearts
not at all like real hearts, and love
not at all like real love
where humans scrambled to tear
flowers from their deep-gripping roots,
drove too quickly in machines
that grumbled and spit fumes,
and drank fiery liquid
until the emptiness
of their gestures looked full.
On the Earth before it was Earth,
the animals of the land and the animals
of the sky and the animals of the water
had no such day reserved
as all revolutions of the moon and sun’s dance
were days to show love.
No one day need be reserved as there was no
separation, no distillation, no need
for reminders. All actions in kindness:
sharing of a leaf, licking of one’s face, playful
splashing in the water
were all understood as affection and all
affection was known to be real.
It was for this reason Turtle pitied
this strangely popular holiday, but still,
for the sake of the bright anxiety beginning
to brim in the human’s eyes the longer
Turtle sat motionless,
he rubbed his cool head along the human’s hand
and stuck his tongue out to touch
the brown square that had been set before him.
One lick. Then two.
Turtle’s head became delightfully woozy
with the rush of smooth sweetness lingering
in his mouth. This indeed,
Turtle thought, taking a full bite,
feeling his prehistoric teeth press into
the chocolate’s soft flesh,
may be worth celebration.
Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the chapbook, All Day, Talking (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Bared: An Anthology on Bras and Breasts and Political Punch: The Politics of Identity, as well as the journals North Dakota Quarterly, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and The Boiler Journal, among others. Her debut full-length collection, Hands That Break & Scar, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. www.sarahachavez.com