when I saw a northern map turtle lying near a tree;
I let it be.
Later I told my aunt Sue,
and she said she saw it too,
yesterday, and that she let it be.
I did the math realizing this meant it was very likely dead.
I soon afterward showed aunt Jane
who confirmed it was dead with a tap of her rake.
“That’s the part of nature I hate,” she said.
“I wonder what happened to it,” I mused. “Where did it go?”
“It died,” she said.
“But is the turtle still inside?” I asked.
“No. It’s just a shell,” she said, flipping it over,
exposing the pale-yellow underbelly of the carapace.
It shocked my eyes like neon.
I stood, puzzled,
then realized I’d had this exact conversation
with an older adult as a child.
“We’ll give it a proper burial later,” my aunt promised,
as if that would fix things.
We got busy,
and never did.
Colleen Wells writes poetry, creative nonfiction and short stories. She writes to understand both herself and the world around her, and because writing grounds her. Her work has appeared in Ravensperch, The Gyroscope Review, and The Potomac Review among other publications. Her memoir Dinner with Doppelgangers - A True Story of Madness & Recovery was published in 2015.