Snapping Turtle

She heaves her terrible body out of the black mud,
Like the monster in a Grade B movie.
You know the movie I mean
Where the townsfolk run off, screaming from the hill,
even though–
the monster has yet to make a single aggressive gesture.
Hasn’t made so much as an off-color remark even.
I understand the running.
It’s the screaming that puts me off.
This one has come to lay her eggs in our garden.
To wreak havoc on our sugar snaps.
I lie down in the grass, watch her side-on.
She fills my vision. Big as a footstool.
She’s like T-Rex, only less irate.
Even so, her jaws can snap a shovel. Or so they say.
Tank of a body, a shield of solid armor.
She was there, you know, just after the Big Bang.
Out of the wreckage, she came together, like a boulder.
She’s older than dirt. Or so they say.
She stops mid-stride, one foot raised, freeze-framed.
My breath stays. Now, here’s where I should remind you–
I’m not wearing any armor. I’m a little afraid.
Of our differences.
She rolls one dreadful eye towards me.
I drop down and down and down.
It’s not your fault, I tell her. Maybe if you blinked–
Every once in a while.
Oh, if you’d let me–I know better than to ask!
I’d lay my hand on your knobby forehead,
And then you could rest your tired, old eyes.
Well, at any rate, here we are–
Let us just pause a moment

And consider, just how far we’ve come.