Sage Walnut

Sage Walnut TortoiseThis tortoise
laying feet outstretched
on warm flagstone
relaxed, trusting in his
artificial world
of rocks and dirt.

Confined by concrete
one hundred twenty five
by seventy five feet
kept safe from cars
and coyotes and territorial
others who would flip
and leave him to die.

How limited his view
of the world outside
this rusty metal gate.

He pushes and rattles
and strains to be free
only to turn and plod
back to dark safety
in his earthen burrow
where outside rarely
intrudes except for lizards.

A remnant of prehistory,
shells found
impressed in long ago mud
tell his age and ability
to survive through expected

Does his longevity
give him wisdom denied
to those of us who are a blink
in the scheme of things?

Or maybe it’s the rhythm
of life and curiosity that
moves him to escape
into that greater world
until he turns and sees a female.

Her back is a
lovely pattern of octagons.
Out there is now forgotten.
He approaches head nodding.

She coyly turns away
and munches Bermuda,
a tease to his ancient
lust. But he is persistent
and follows, excited,
until she stops and he
mounts, grunting and
slapping his enthusiasm.
All notions of freedom dispersed.