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The Charm Of Turtles

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Along with your sleeping bag,
guitar, fishing pole, dirty laundry,
you bring me a souvenir from camping.
You like turtles, don’t you?
The question freezes me—
for one minute time shifts and you are
four, in love with everything in the world,
holding a toad bigger than your cupped hands
asking me to admire its gray-green self.
Turtles are nice, I say warily, remembering.
From your backpack you dig out a silver turtle charm,
enameled in bright turquoise. You shrug.
I bought you this because you like turtles,
you say, then hesitate, suddenly as uncertain
as when you’ve forgotten Mother’s Day again.
You do like turtles, don’t you?
I do now, is what I think.
What I say is Yes. Oh, yes, I love turtles.

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