Michaelangelo by Austin Smith

I never thought it would be the last
time I saw him.

I never thought to pet his head.

     I never thought to set him on our bridge and set a cherry tomato in his line
of view, in case he needed a bite or two before his journey.

By the way, he’s named after the ninja.

The only thing I’ve learned about turtles is
they hold no loyalty.

*

Whenever at my grandfather’s cabin,
I take a wander on my own.

The small, light, walking type
down to our little pond to sit on the bridge.

The patch of sunlight over it is a dream.
     A dream of the years’ old, bright red paint glittering.

One day I saw a deep,
deep green, softball sized circle gliding
toward my dangling boy feet.

I bolted up cement stairs
to tell Grandpa of the circle.

He nabbed Mikey just for me.

*

We fell in love over a pile of aspen leaves
but I told him I wasn’t hungry.

He met aspen the same day he met me.

I didn’t realize he was planning an escape with each little
bite from the elevated bridge.

He’ll be a ninja when he grows up, I’d say,
after I teach him how to hyahh!

I trotted back down from snack time
to check on him with goldfish in hand

and found an empty bridge frowning.

 

Austin Smith is a freshman at Rocky Mountain College in his hometown, Billings, Montana.

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