for Mary Vazquez
I still think about him that great old turtle large as a coffee table standing by the side of the road, his narrow eyes, his wrinkled head, his gray-green shell spotted with lichen. How he rose up on his elephantine legs! How he hissed and snapped at the metal ice scraper you thrust at him trying to steer him away from the stream of cars barreling past. It was his will against yours as you blocked his path again and again until finally he turned and ambled off into the trees without so much as a backward glance. Two years have passed and I wonder, Does he still think about us the way we still think about him? Does he dream about us? Thank his lucky stars we came along just in time? Or does he curse us daily for stopping him from stepping into that dangerous traffic, risking it all to reach his ancient heart’s desire, forever unknown on the other side of the road?