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Stairs by Albert Rollins


Hunting Turtles

Marilyn Baszczynski

Go back to the turtle pond, lean
down close to the water’s edge,
and discern the snapper’s
pointy snout—

how it belies its large shell,
burrowed under
slimy mud. He lives in
a past that stretches ages

backward, waiting for prey
and cooling from the heat.


Peek under branches
that overhang the pond
for painted shells, motionless
on sun-bleached, rotten logs.

Watch diligently. In phase
with her slower world,
keep your eyes still, so light
will not reflect in them.

Let moss cover you, growing
over you as you turn to stone.


As you run ahead, pull
a snapper from the culvert
by his ancient hind legs
and whoop your catch—

beware his powerful beak.
Even if he is dead, drowned
in the debris of last night’s
flooding, do not bury him. Lean

down close. Let his memory
harden in scorching sunlight.

Spring Equinox 2011 Table of Contents