Tricyclist and a Turtle

Minnesota
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

dunked,
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
safe
in him.

More Poems by Molly McQuade