Creatures with shells
make me ponder
my own vulnerabilities

I recall toddler trials, mother’s coddling,
griddle-hot Iowa summers, the sticky pavement
barefoot dares, whimpering
garden hose relief

every scar is a waypoint, every wrinkle
a latitude and longitude line, I’m
still exploring, still mapping

emotional upheavals and angry words
are the spewing magma that must be released
after subconscious quakes, tremors
sometimes linger
for days

I stumble on through life, sometimes
I crawl, sometimes I just sit awhile and watch
others pass by, yeah
I envy turtles
with their bone-hard shells
and stoic stares

as I rub my aching calloused
hands and feet
releasing the day’s woe
in sighs.

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