Road Turtle and Another Poem

Two Poems by Joyce Wheatley



I dreamt I was sleeping,
In my dream I was dreaming
Of tilapia and crème caramel
Shared under the covers with her,

Tilapia with orzo and Spanish
Custard on a China plate
Etched with flowers
Encircling its white border.

When the fish sat up and spoke
Of troubles in its pond,
You cursed, dropped your fork
And choked on a bit of flan.

“Well, that’s that then,” I said,
“Life still goes on,”
Awakening from the scene,
Continued sleeping in the dream.



alligator-snapping-turtle norbert nagel commons

One summer evening
Gentle and fair,
Riding my bike,
Going nowhere,

Ahead on the road
I happened to see
A giant brown turtle
Looking at me.

I pedaled by slow,
Loathing to stop,
Feeling the thrill from my
Toes to my top

That riding my bike
On a back country road
One summer evening
Stirs in my soul,

Curiosity filled
And courtesy bound
To pay my respects,
I turned around,

Lay down my bike
A few yards away,
Cautiously crept
Near where the lump lay,

Crouched low to the ground,
There eye to eye,
I sensed something bigger,
Greater than I.

A stink wafted up
to wrinkle my nose,
I sensed that this creature
Smelled worse than my toes.

Mud, slime and mold
patched over its dome,
Full-covered its back,
A pagoda shell home;

Traveling tools
Below jutted out,
Dull-pointed talons,
Weapons no doubt,

Small reptilian head,
Dry as a bone,
Leathery eyelids,
hazel eyes shone.

The turtle didn’t twitch,
Except when to blink
Slowly like curtains
Closing, I think,

On this funny scene,
A woman and beast
Sharing a gift,
Sun in Northeast.

Deep heavens above,
Vast seas of blue sky,
Clouds sailing to sunset,
Now here was I

Meeting time’s creature,
Decrepit old guide,
Patience and longing
Paused now by my side.

Then poetry calls,
Winds stir the air,
I climb back on my bike,
Riding nowhere.

(Turtle photo by Norbert Nagel.)

Joyce Wheatley writes and works as a librarian in Ithaca, New York, where she rides bikes and lives with her husband, Patrick, and their beloved Cocker Spaniels, Rumi and Star. Her twitter handle is @joycea17.

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