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Nocturn for the Loggerhead Turtle
Betsy Holleman Burke
The night is licorice black. Myrtle
roots seize my ankle on a path
to the beach. Blind, hands wave,
reach out, hope a banana spider
sleeps. Its web shrouds my face.
Dark skies command obeyed. No
lights on this barrier island.
Suddenly, luminescence. Sand alive
with mica flecks, a million tiny mirrors
catch, reflect comets, sparkle wave
tops, shimmer shells of ghost crabs.
The cosmos, a moon sliver, offers
a phosphorescent welcome to the turtle.
She appears from the surf, drags her
three hundred pounds to the far dune
to deposit eggs -- dozens, hundreds in
the shallow nest she creates in the sand.
Her flippers operate a backhoe. Long
task complete, she lumbers back to her
Atlantic home. A scene as old as creation
we watched forty years ago together.
Photo by Olivia Helsel.
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