Painted Turtle · Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Painted Turtle

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by Rebekah Ainsworth

I look for you often. Never expectation, it is hope my eyes have that your need for sun to keep your cold-blooded, 
soft body
moving 
within your 
                   hard shell

will coincide
       my desire: to see your body art
               your neck
                       outstretched.
amplified exposure, reaching and spreading, thirsty to soak
I am thirsty to soak in you.
                                   ~
I do not stand in wait for you to climb up the mud-dipped trunk.

The forest is not for me—             life             —but is. 

I do not come here to wait for you.       I catch you
                                                                catch me—
        in motion is how I always see you, but you
        are statue-still, soaking 
        in every ray of natural,
glitzy blessing, gawk, compliment, smile.

We both soak—or all. You, never alone, are nothing
if not social.

There is plenty of sun to go around on this day.
And I find you beautiful among your other selves.

                                   ~
I am in my intended role: at a     distance,    Alone Girl    peaceful
-ly breathing steam
searching beauty to quench                           ~parched~

                                 WAIT


you exit                 [stage right]
splash right
back home out of my sight. 

It’s a whole other world down there. One the likes of me—not a diver—may never view. I will
not 
see you there. I have held your beauty here with me now, and I am joyous, even at your exit.
(You can’t leave unless you’ve been satisfied.)

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