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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

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Fox Frazier-Foley is author of two prize-winning poetry collections, EXODUS IN X MINOR (Sundress Publications, 2014) and THE HYDROMANTIC HISTORIES (Bright Hill Press, 2015). She is currently editing an anthology of contemporary American political poetry, titled POLITICAL PUNCH (Sundress Publications, 2016) and an anthology of critical and lyrical writing about aesthetics, titled AMONG MARGINS (Ricochet Editions, 2016). Fox is Founding EIC of Agape Editions, and co-creator of the Tough Gal Tarot.

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