Tortuga

Because the matted hay
blocked his wrinkled gaze,
and because I am who I am,
I felt the call to move him
to a higher place. And thus,

soft as a mother’s hum,
I wrapped my fingers
around the mottled shell,
grazing the creases of his thick neck,
raised him just a few inches,
resting him on a nearby rock,
watched him close his eyes,
stretching his head to the sun.

How noble it felt to help him,
that turtle that fit
between both my palms,
he who could have snapped
at any moment,
yet didn’t.

But people aren’t turtles,
are they? And I have only
two hands. And those I love
need more than I own.
Better to leave them
in the arms of the universe.
Look. The turtle is sleeping.

Katherine Gotthardt

Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, has been writing, editing and teaching for more than twenty years. For the past ten years, she has earned a living through content development and marketing. Besides being published in dozens of journals, Katherine has authored six books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water, Bury Me Under a Lilac and Late April. She has been nominated twice for Poet Laureate of Prince William County, VA, received InsideNova's 2019 Best of Prince William award in the author category and is Editor in Chief of Prince William Living magazine. Katherine serves as president of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

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