KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Poem: 115 words [R]

The Turtles of La Escobilla

by Jack Cooper
With machetes, the men hack 
at the green sea turtles. 
They shoot them with long rifles. 
They take them away on their horses 
whole and squirming in the moonlight. 
They dig their eggs out of the sand. 
They laugh and drink tequila. 

Still, the turtles come back, 
ciphers of the earth, 
tsunamis of creation, 
for 200 million years 
a pattern in the void, 
raw wet shoulders rising 
from the broken shells. 

Rising as each man stumbles 
in the house to hang up his belt, 
rising like the fires of flesh, 
crates of carapace, 
rising bright and willing because, 
like the moon, for most of time 
the earth has been theirs.


—Published previously in Runes: A Review of Poetry (2006); appears here with poet’s permission


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