Tricyclist and a Turtle

By Molly McQuade Molly McQuade
snapping turtles
clutched by little cities

are wet busts of moonstone
wreathed in scum,
the gray self sugared,

half a lot
of granite
phlegm stopped

upon a chaise longue,
that incoming
pod of him

thorny hooves aswim.
Lichen licked him,

then he quivered
in the stem,
and didactic stoicism stitched

him tight with
a neat twine.
Even when

tapped on the back
by a barefoot tricyclist
with a bulging wheaten midriff,

he does not respond
except that
a flagellant

paddling worm
nested in
the necropolis

of his nape twists
in disgust
under the skin,

keeping all the grim social hate
in him.

Source: Poetry (August 2004).


This poem originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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August 2004
 Molly  McQuade


Molly McQuade is writing a letter to Edgar Lee Masters as part of her job as a columnist for the American Library Association. Her books include Barbarism, a collection of her poetry; Stealing Glimpses, a collection of her essays about poetry; and By Herself, an edited anthology of essays about poetry by contemporary women poets.

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Poems by Molly McQuade

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Social Commentaries, Animals

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza, Metaphor, Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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