the turtle

The Turtle

she and i stood by on the small out cropping
of land into this small lake I had known
since the country part of my
childhood

she loved the lake as much as
she loved to drink
when her eyes went south
and nobody was home

sensing a pull to the east i walked
across the pebbles and unhesitatingly
bent and reached and grabbed
all in one moments movement

i had him lifting out of the water
a mud turtle to show her
the grandeur of what an
earth water fill cavity can give

he thrust his head way out
this mud turtle and i noticed
that he was missing one leg
no doubt chewed off by predator

his left rear leg while the other
three tried suspended to escape
my hand pushing against air
i supreme for a moment observed

and his beak mouth opened
attacking, growling ferocious
turtle mother of earth
humbling me and the alcoholic

i called her over and he yelled his name
no vocal chords just a roar
which shook the universe
and sent waves out through my soul

a mud turtle is an ugly thing
and he stretched his neck in anger
mighty, mighty, mighty ferocity
power encompassing my mind

one bows to such who rules
the great lakes of time
a mud turtle letting me know
that humility stands on the shore

the drunk saw what is
for those moments as this
lesson was given by by the wild
unafraid of man,

his eyes met mine and both impressed
that turtle had power and
i had respect
we locked in establishing might

bowing to his authority
and his ageless mind
i bent to the waters edge
releasing the three legged god

to swim away into time
the water splashed
he paddled away into the deep
where i cannot go

she is long gone
no longer a drunk and
i stand by the lake
calling his name

knowing we need never meet again
now that i have been taught
having been given that moment
to learn that of all things of earth

a three legged turtle
taught me his lesson
needing no more encounters
with this foolishly grasping mind

twelve years passing
i never again sought his company
a gift asked for twice
doesn’t deserve a leg to stand on

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