Fathom Mag

Southern Box Turtle

A Poem

Published on:
July 22, 2019
Read time:
1 min.
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There’s every chance that you’ll outlive me.
Wise old lump with your shadowed shell, years
have taught you to shrink into the understory
of darkness between the dirt and the leaves
as I lift the hydrangea’s bowed branch, searching
for last year’s coneflowers. The sudden sunlight triggers
your alien shyness, and though I mean no danger,
          you retreat into the fortress you always carry. 

Is that how you live fifty, sixty, maybe a hundred years?
Perhaps you’re right, and risk is overrated.
I return several days later, searching now for you.
But you are long gone, headed for some damp woods,
a slow and steady retreat to some place overlooked,
          and I, myself, am tempted by such a shrewd move.

Julie Sumner
Julie Sumner is a writer who has worked as a critical care nurse, transplant coordinator, and massage therapist. She recently completed her MFA at Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Fathom, The Cresset, Juxtaprose, San Pedro River Review, Catalpa Magazine, and The Behemoth.

Cover image by Alex Wing.

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