FNS: Lady Box Turtle from Jessica Wiseman Lawrence

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Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Helen Presents: a poem from Jessica Wiseman Lawrence


I had been told
that female box turtles have
yellow, brown, or dull orange eyes,
and males have red eyes.
That is why I said, “OK, Lady,”
when I picked up a brown-eyed
box turtle off of the middle of the road
in front of my house and moved her to the other side.

She hissed at me, and hid her head inside the lower hinge
of her shell. I watched her for a while after I put her down,
next to the mailbox.

She pushed through the tough sawgrass at the edge of the asphalt,
moving in ancient ways,
and disappeared from my view.

Why did Lady Box Turtle cross the road?

Once in the woods, she moved over roots and leaves,
at times pushing up soil with her armored chest,
Was she relieved to be away from our cars and houses and hours?
Was she relieved to be away from our fear of silence?


Jessica Wiseman Lawrence lives in rural central Virginia. She recently published work in the “Where I Live” series for Silver Birch Press, and also has poems currently upcoming in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Gloom Cupboard Magazine, and The Activity Report. Her work focuses on current events, motherhood, poverty, and nature.

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