Turtle

By Kay Ryan b. 1945 Kay Ryan
Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
a packing-case places, and almost any slope
defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
she's often stuck up to the axle on her way
to something edible. With everything optimal,
she skirts the ditch which would convert
her shell into a serving dish. She lives
below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
will change her load of pottery to wings.
Her only levity is patience,
the sport of truly chastened things.

"Turtle" from Flamingo Watching © 1994 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission of Copper Beech Press.

Source: Flamingo Watching (Copper Beech Press, 1994)

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Poet Kay Ryan b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Pets, Relationships

 Kay  Ryan

Biography

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Ryan's tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily . . .

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SUBJECT Pets, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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