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Oklahoma Journal: Poem
09.17.15

At the Hotel Waiting to Attend a Friend’s Memorial Service

 

La Quinta Inn

Shawnee, Oklahoma

Room 306

Mid-September…

I peer through

wispy strands

of an abandoned

web

splayed against the window

as the sun

rises over

a stagnant pond—

All around the pond–

green—

“We’ve gotten lots of rain this year,”

the monk at the abbey told me.

Oklahoma.

Green.

At the end of summer.

********

There is more life

than we know

in places we’ve

long thought dead.

************

Two small lumps

in the water

glisten white

where sunlight kisses

the damp–

Turtles?

Trash?

Tires?

I measure my curiosity—

Shall I walk down to

water’s edge

and inspect the lumps

more closely?

Or will I simply let them be—

A mystery that

holds my imagination,

douses me with wonder

for one small part of a morning

on the hazy edge

of death?

Or life?

**************

A subtle shift

lures my gaze

right—

a short plank

with four dark lumps–

moving!

Turtles–

shifting

sidling

inching

testing

searching for balance

as a group

to rest.

I watch unblinking

for a moment of sheer

awe

as the board floats

with four

still

tiny

shining

lumps.

************

I close my eyes,

offer a prayer of thanks,

gratitude for friends.

And silence.

And water.

And sun.

And life.

************

The next moment I look down–

a single turtle

paces the plank

searching for her

companions,

now gone.

Finally,

she stops on one corner

and sits—

whether grieving

or content

or resigned

I cannot tell.

************

I observe the lone turtle

Sympathize with her.

Empathize with her.

Identify with her.

Then I think of

her companions

somewhere below the murky

surface

swimming

drinking

eating

maybe even cavorting,

Who knows?

Then I look up,

take in the whole pond

and finally see–

It’s only half-stagnant.

Half-alive.

kjb

9/12-14/2015



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