Walking With Jean & Gini
Splashed up on a wild stretch of Lake Michigan coast,
suspended between a desert of dunes
oceanic immensity,
long neck extended, head lying motionless,
leathery legs buried in wet sand:
the venerable snapping turtle was apparently dead.

As waves broke, and washed the beach,
occasionally lapping the carapace,
we sat beside this incarnation of mystery:
Where'd it come from?
How'd it get here?

Then Jean remembered the river-mouth
a few miles north, and the puzzle
began sorting itself out.

Gulls careened on the wind, and sandpipers quick-stepped
the shifting water-line, while we constructed scenarios...
in the midst of our conjecturing, we suddenly saw
the slowest of movements: the turtle raising its head with
excruciating effort, blinking incredibly ancient eyes, and
opening its mouth, as if to say,
I was here,
before the beginning...

and will remain,
after the end