Eastern box turtles are
said to wander widely
until encountering a mate.
How can that work within
funnels of suburban curbs?

If not eaten after hatching,
pancaked crossing roads, or
caught in yards to die as pets,
some live 30 years within
the clutter on a forest floor.

Two years ago, near the porch
out back, we saw a pair mating
by a trashcan, one stone tipped
upon another, the sculpture
discretely archived on an iPhone.

Today, a hillside mower swath
exposed in roaring sunshine a
young one: head retracted, feet
held still, dome about the size
of a yellow-spotted hockey puck.

A self-propelled machine,
turned off and pulled aside,
remains stationary on the hill,
allowing time and silence for a
journey interrupted to resume.



Raymond Byrnes taught college English in the Midwest before leaving a tenured position to join the U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat satellite program, where he managed communications for many years. Now retired in Virginia, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in All Roads Will Lead You Home, Panoply, Typishly, Better Than Starbucks, Eclectica, Sky Island Journal, Split Rock Review, and Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Poetry Anthology.

[ The photograph of the turtles at the top of this page is in the public domain. ]


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