TurtleKay Ryan
Who would be a turtle who could help it?

A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,

She can ill afford the chances she must take

In rowing toward the grasses that she eats.

Her track is graceless, like dragging

A packing-case places, and almost any slope

Defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,

She’s often stuck up to the axle on her way

To something edible. With everything optimal,

She skirts the ditch which would convert

Her shell into a serving dish. She lives

Below luck-level, never imagining some lottery

Will change her load of pottery to wings.

Her only levity is patience,

The sport of truly chastened things.
From Flamingo Watching

Copper Beach Press, 1994
Copyright Kay Ryan.

All rights reserved.

Reproduced with permission

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