27 November 2006

Deborah Tall

[Poetry Daily reports that Deborah Tall has died and features this poem from her book, Summons, 2000]

Children's Beach Museum

Just beyond the beach
where sea turtles
lay their eggs by moonlight
this time of year

a few maimed specimens
are kept for children
to look at -- one baby
loggerhead, its left front leg

a jellied fin, another
flowering papillomas,
ocean water pumping
through a buried pipe.

They surface and stare,
bald heads fixed,
would snap a baby's fist off

Inside, under glass, stuffed
snappers and box turtles poise,
and this owl, removed from a wire,
one leg burned off, feathers on end.

Grimly my daughter
surveys their fates,
glares speechless at the cheerful
volunteer guide, retracing the steps

she took just last month
with her patient grandfather,
his death still hidden in him
like her fist tight in a pocket.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know she died. This is lovely and sad. I have a thing for old turtles. (and they likely for me.)