Tartaruga by Catherine Arra

There is no language
in the place the two-hundred-year-old tartaruga knows

alone each day, walled in the palazzo garden
with little or no sunlight, little or no food.

I watch him furrow warm, yellow patches of mid afternoon
& stay, letting his hard, green shell heat the chambers of his solitude.

Each day I bring fresh lettuce, he’s less frightened. Today he’s waiting
his diamond head stretching up, his reptile eyes shining.

How wonderful to be noticed in this wordless world, to be tended to
cared for, to be seen in this singular, ancient garden

in his only shell.

Catherine Arra is the author of Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press 2014), Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press 2015) and forthcoming in 2017, Tales of Intrigue & Plumage (FutureCycle Press). Recent poetry and prose appear in The Timberline Review, MockingHeart Review, Split Rock Review, and Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series. A former English and writing teacher, Arra now teaches part time and facilitates a local writers’ group in upstate New York. Find her at catherinearra.com.

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