Dear Tina,

Is it possible your turtleness has something to sing?

Bought with a boy’s allowance, you’ve learned

a new word: plunder, a contribution

to mid-grade reptilian literature.

Is it possible a diva like you

is drawn to a spot of light? You were there

that day with the boy in his room. You seem

desperate to speak. Perhaps some ember of his

infiltrated your shell. He couldn’t sing

either. His head was your Goodyear blimp.

Now, all the lonely hours you’ve shredded.

What were you thinking as he hung there?

The world has many competent turtle people,

but I’m not one of them. I’m sorry.

I tried to give you away but you’re

one of the most invasion species here.

All the turtle literature warned against

plopping red-eared sliders into random habitats.

And now you have mental health issues. You

seem urgent. O Tina, tell me you miss

that boy, that body you watched grow up,

appearing and disappearing like a

companionship of wind, suddenly still,

then gone. Still. Gone.

Brian Builta

Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. He has recently published poems in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, and South Florida Poetry Journal, with poems forthcoming in New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly.

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