tanka

tanka--
small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Sunday, December 25, 2011

At the Turtle Hospital

Great maimed beasts swim listing in circles,
weights glued lopsided to shells like rippled sand,
drawing them down toward lost
unreachable depths.

Rescue a turtle drifting at sea
and you earn the right to name it, like Adam,
though its true name be always
unspeakable mystery.

If ever I saved a sea turtle floating,
I’d name it, mother, for you—
and you’d laugh,
you who taught me it’s all mystery, all holy,

fish and the leaping, moonlit illusion of fish,
sea wrack and driftweed,
dark tides and the body
bathed in luminescence,
the least, lost creature drifting toward home.

You, who after the stroke swam listing through time
on half-blind limbs, shut out
of the silted sea cave of memory
until at last you dove alone
into the deep welcoming ocean of home.


 EarthSpeak 7, Spring 2011

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