Turtles

Peter Wild

What is this falling out of the sky
not a plain picnic bench
or a camel's colored coat
with a spot, a city growing on it,
a patch of moss on the moon

but a tooth,
a failed spirometer,
one half of a woman's body
beginning to twitch and dance.

leaving a hole, the surprise
of a man losing his hair
patch by patch,
it takes the same path as a meteor
of dough, only to make another
in the thicker
lake painted there
closing up after it just as the shocked
tourists shoot from their wooden chairs

and at the bottom churns for ages
while they never forget,
a vase, a question made of turquoise,
a stone basket from which
those generals the turtles nose out

climbing hand over hand
up the ladders of algae
some holding their breaths
others calling to one another
like lovers or sailors
scaling aboard a captured ship.

 

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