To Fill the Void

I sing not carapace or plastron
but the space hovering between
their arches carved out by fire

in its devouring of turtle rabbit vole
life gone to death in roaring flame
leaving what was too hard to consume

shell keratin bone teeth one hundred
year old cedar scorched strands
of rusting wire the odd post

how many words needed then
to fill the void chart the many paths
taken by disappeared clawed feet

once leathery legs immune to briars
passed through blackberry thickets
tangled smilax spiked by horse nettles

now through tunneled space birds flit
away into the distance riding red grasses
dried to February sibilance shouting

as I sight through scalloped scoots
hoping for a kaleidoscope of ideas
to fill this paper blank as cloudless sky

see again his slowly blinking red
eye as I held him in the field placed
his carcass on the stacks of skids

knew his spirit long fled to the sun
and yet it’s here in this room as I honor
carapace and plastron fill the void.

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