Weight of the World

"Some Turtles are Safer Than Others"

Digital collage with photograph & art by Amy Alexander

Weight of the World

by Amy Alexander

When the turtle bore the world on its back,

only the rock could break it.

We were slow, then.

The rock was slower,

collapsing into gravity,

its always lover,

so the turtle was whole

over many springs,

laying down the shell circles,

telling stories to its children,

children of mud,

distant cousins of rocks,

crawling, red-eared,

out of muck,

that was how it was

for many years.

Karl Benz’s tri-car was slow, too,

made for pleasure,

but faster than horses,

then measured by them,

their bodies piled up

and turned to power,

more and more matted sorrels,

sinews, sodden,

pelvises of women stacked

all the way to Talladega,

to turtles cracked by the millions

on their mating walks in spring

and I am bothered by this

in a way most people find to be tedious,

too sensitive,

they whisper,

too much watching

the side of the road.

In another time,

they would bleed me

to force out the demons

or burn me at the stake.

At the automobile lot

for a used car,

a baby in my belly,


I couldn’t find the love for speed

and asked my father to choose one for me.

When I’d told him I was expecting,

he looked at me like a broken woman,

and I felt my back snap,

felt the world on me,

then signed the papers

not knowing that a week later,

I would wake up in a pool of red

and remember how many turtles I couldn’t save.


Amy Alexander is a poet, visual artist, and homeschooling mother living in Baton Rouge, close to the mighty Mississippi. Her poetry and/or artwork has appeared in The Coil, Cease Cows, Mooky Chick, The Remembered Arts, The RKVRY Quarterly Literary Journal, Mojave Heart Review and many more wonderful journals.

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