They staked out
the smashed carapace they had
forcefed for months with jelly and glue
to make it fat for this special time
daubed mustard on an exposed lung
to make it twitch
and danced to that rhythm
round and round
round and round and round
in a cruel cycle of cleansing pain
a ring of sacrificial vision
pulsing with evolution
and ritual ablution
like theĀ  madly puckering
wet sphincter of an oyster
sex-changing every year
in its spawning bed

The giant loggerhead turtle
dredged its jugular up from the slime,
flexed its flayed and oozing legs
uprooted the restraining birchwood staves
croaked an ouch that hurt but felt nearby
a sense of crashing waves…
and heaved itself back into time
to lay more eggs.


















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