There were Turtles
                        turtles everywhere,
                                                for months
they followed (or perhaps I them) 
                                    the last the lamp 

            in Iowa
                        the pale glow from its shell ghosting 
the granite counter top
                                    the Jamaican ginger 

ale as I fled 
            the stone in my chest headed back 
east to the mosaic at Houston
                                    and Varick 

            the station 
                        wall a window into a submerged 
Manhattan the tunnels an aquarium 
                                                            cast 

in blue and green 
                        tiles. And the week before that 
a one man hand-propelled eight foot 
                                                long replica 

            a Revolutionary
                                    War submersible 
known as The Turtle found 
                                    off the East River. Go 

further back, back 
                        to the turtles two men received 
as a wedding 
            gift in May and later that same 

            month the four Turtle 
                        Towers in Ocho Rios 
the shells in the water 
            trough outside the tower 

office and our joke a tower for each 
                                                Teenage
Mutant Ninja who weeks 
                        before danced in Times Square. 

            It was April when it began 
                                                when I took you 

through the brambles 
                        through the ramble to the castle 

to climb its narrow 
                        stairs sit upon its ramparts. 
There were turtles in the pond 
                                    below on the rocks 

on the logs we watched 
            them surface murk risen plates 
that broke into humped shapes 
                        and so for months I've kept 

a turtle watch new totem in this shift 
                                                and give 

but the one I think on 
                        often was from the day 

the woman sucked her teeth 
                        as we passed caught a snatch 
of batty- as we wandered 
                        through the crafts in search 

            of an exit the steel 
                                    haloed father who leapt 
from a stool his mahogany 
                                    turtle's red glass 

eye on fire its shell caramel 
                                    molasses 
carapace. That was the day 
                        I laughed at the box 

the cartoon turtle and his bubble 
                                                “take it slow” 

wrapped the used 
            Durex in toilet paper to mask 

it in the trash in case any 
                        knew remembered
two men rented
                        the room and I think of that wood 

            turtle what would 
                        have happened had I bought it brought 
it back to this northern 
                        island. Would I still see 

turtles in all the places
                                    I never look. Would 
it stop the sightings. 
                        Would I see them and not care 

fertile in this language of hurt or dare.
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