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Galapagos Tortoise


Out the back window I see, resting there

next to the mulch bin, topped

with light green watermelon rinds

and pale yellow corn husks

and shrunken orange pumpkins, a giant

Galapagos Tortoise, not moving or eating,

but simply resting, steady and sure

as the harvest moon, its two front legs

stretching out straight before it,

wizened, hoary head peeking at up me

from beneath its dark carapace.


But I know it cannot be a Galapagos Tortoise

because this is winter in New England,

a light layer of snow beginning to cover

everything, the yard and trees

and the mulch bin, too.


I rub my eyes, look out again see it’s only

the large rock at the end of the path

resting there sure and steady as Mars

shining fiery red in the winter sky,

and not a Galapagos Tortoise after all, watching

me steadily as a Roman centurion from there

alongside the mulch bin in the snow.