Dogs 2007

IMPOTENT INTERFERENCE
(6/23/07)


why
do I see
these things?

I was circling
the auto center
on foot
at a mid-town
shopping mall
waiting at 7am
for an oil change
coffee in hand
estimating the results
of the most recent
rainfall
only minutes
before

toward the edge
of the parking lot
ran narrow
well kept
planters
with trendy flowers
bushes
and such
all freshly
mulched
and manicured

along the curb
of one planter
I thought
that I saw
some movement
so after another
sip of the black
I proceeded
to investigate

it was
a turtle
a terrapin?
a tortoise?
I didn't remember
the difference
but this
was definitely
one big fucking member
of the turtle family
and as I neared
I was impressed
with its size
and also with
the striking pattern
of its shell

it was sporting
a light
greenish tan armor
all highlighted
with large
very dark
hexagonal outlines
providing maximum
contrast

beautiful
really

it didn't
belong
on the pavement
so I bent down
and found
that my hand
was just large enough
to grasp the now
retracted animal's
mobile home
and place it
in the nearest
planter

I walked away
feeling good
about the deal
but soon started thinking
that the planter
wasn't really
large enough
for a big
free roaming
turtle
(or whatever)
so I began to think
about alternative homes
for my new friend

why not
my backyard?
it was bordered
by chain link
to provide
an escape proof
boundary
but large enough
to make a turtle pen
of impressive
proportions

my first
destination
however
was the job
a place
with its own planters
and landscaped lawn
to provide
at least
a temporary
holding area
while I plied
my trade

truck down
off the rack
and payment made
I swung around
the garage area
to find the creature
in the same place
still ensconced
so stopped
retrieved it
and placed it gently
on the passenger side
floor board

after only
a few blocks
head legs and tail
sprung from the shell
apparently in response
to the motion

it looked
at me
but would duck
a bit
every time
I reached
to shift

after a few
stops and starts
it acclimated
to the motions involved
rather quickly
and began crawling
toward me
rising with
the transmission hump
until almost
at lap level

I had visions
of the turtle
resting on my shoulder
with its head
out the window
like some hard boiled
canine
but before
it could get
much higher
I pulled into the building's
parking lot
came to a stop
and grabbed the animal
for another temporary
relocation

back
in a planter again
it remained immobile
as if a vehicle ride
was its only
motivation
for motion
but at least
it was a much
larger habitat
than at
the mall

after an hour
or so
of communing
with the computers
I walked outside
to check
on my charge
it had moved
only a few feet
to find a comfortable
position under
a concealing
bush

back inside
I was sucked
into the work vortex
and did not
reemerge
until I was done
with a Saturday's toil
at about 2:30pm

I had already
planned
a grocery stop
for some lettuce
and fresh fruit
for my new
pet

but
my wildlife project
was gone
and although I searched
for 15 or 20 minutes
I couldn't find
the walking
piece of art
anywhere
on the grounds

it was either
faster
than I thought
or had dug in
somewhere
until its captor
departed

depart
I did
alone again
in transit
wondering
at the meaning

the madness

and my place
in it all