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Thinking of Turtles

thinking of turtles
I go straight to fables: The Tortoise and the Hare -
and how slow and steady wins the race
that same old story, been there, done that
think back think back - I’m back in grade school now
Mom didn’t like dogs and cats,
so she got us a turtle        which died in weeks
probably not a good idea   -
one small shared turtle passed around
among six pairs of small eager exploring hands

I think that to live a really long time
a turtle needs to be gigantic
like those huge ones on Galapagos. .  .
how I loved learning in junior high geography
things like how those tortoises can live longer than my grandma
and how folks can ride atop their hard shell backs!

riding riding. . . now I’m back in high school
riding in a boyfriend’s car, sure I must have been
snuggled close to him, but maybe not
he was really into rules and I can’t remember
when wearing seat belts came to be a law!
Alvin was the name of this tall good looking guy
a year or two ahead of me in school
but in a different school from mine
across the Mississippi in a town of Illinois
his hair was dark and wavy, his eyes were brightly blue
even his nose was perfect, and he was so sweet
when he invited me to church camp across the river

for hours playing handsies covertly on our pew
we listened to religion droning on and on
and my mind was not on God
later at his house, making out
I never would have let him get too far
but I could tell he thought I was too fast. . . 

I remember thinking as he drove me home
how slowly and carefully he maneuvered that car
how    slowly    he     articulated    
 every     word    he     spoke
and it entered in my mind
this religious rule abiding boy with the perfect face
and lips that gave such perfect kisses
drove, talked and probably thought
as slowly as a turtle

Alvin never dated me again
I wonder sometimes what he’s doing now
and if        slow        and       steady
won the race



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  1. Date: 7/29/2014 9:48:00 AM

    Haha...clever twist there, Andrea...sometimes I wish I thought as slow as a turtle...;) The last turtle we had, Jyllian covered its shell in little fake sticky diamonds. The turtle escaped...and I imagine it's something of a rock-star among the other turtles....that turtle's got bling!!
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 8:05:00 AM

    This is creative and absolutely perfect! You weave words seamlessly into vibrant images and stories like a master artisan with her needle and embroidery thread.
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 5:07:00 AM

    uh.. yup, yup... Cool, Andrea! Good luck!
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 3:24:00 AM

    Hi, Andrea. This is quite a story you have woven about the turtles and Alvin. This was very well written and enjoyable to read. Thanks for letting us into your memories. I worked in Texas for a while and knew a guy from Oklahoma That took 10 minutes just to say good morning. Wonderful poem, my friend.... Robert.
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 1:45:00 AM

    Oh Andrea this is a classic, love how you have weaved so much interest in the way of different stories into this piece. A stroke of brilliance for sure! Bravo...
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 1:41:00 AM

    I love your Alvin.. What a clever write and I am infatuated with such. This work has made my night, my heart you have touched.
  1. Date: 7/29/2014 1:33:00 AM

    I really liked how you ended this one, Andrea! hat was a clever twist there-- from turtle to your youth-- I really enjoyed how it almost felt like we were entering your mind as you these things went through your mind-- now I am wondering with you-- what happened to Alvin! Thanks for this very entertaining read, Andrea :)!
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 3:42:00 PM

    died in weeks?!? oh how sad! I love your tale here. not tail, tale! We have a pet turtle, a red slider named En'Julio and he is mighty huge. I saved him when he was small as a nickel! Cheers San Andreas! Oh yeah, I wrote a children's book about my turtle~ JOEY
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 1:01:00 PM

    Some very nice sentiments and reflections penned here Andrea..
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 12:39:00 PM

    Your poem lets us take a peek into the past while taking us back to our own youth. I so enjoyed this poem Andrea. Hope it does well in the contest. P.S. I often drive like a turtle, but never have accidents like my twin who has had many.
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 10:45:00 AM

    Wish it was me. I'd have clung to you like a snapper turtle with a good sense of taste. You didn't call it myrtle did you?. Turtles are cool. carry their house on their backs and no mortgage..A great write. very visual.maybe he was a turtle in disguise. well done Pete.
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 3:26:00 AM

    WOMAN!!!! Seriously now!!!! You are just a big show off! ;) ;) Pure genius! I'm serious....I was wondering where you were leading us with it all...On Andrea...slow and steady has its merits...for sure...but...oh it's not for me! I want fire and storm...hurricane and SPEED...Ok...not all the time! ;) WOMAN! Wonderful read. Cyndi will like th enjambment and what you did with spacing. I have no GHOST of a chance with her with my addled brain in RHYME! Hugs
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 2:26:00 AM

    Lovely tale Andrea ! Wonderful imagery my dear,, stay blessed !
  1. Date: 7/28/2014 1:12:00 AM

    Nice story here Andrea, I reckon if I had met a girl like that I would have been glad to see the back of her. I had a tortoise when a kid, wasn't allowed to have a dog and cat. I think it lasted about six months. He was as boring as the man you just described. Enjoyed your poem, my friend....Peter