waiting for the sea turtle

you’ve seen the sea turtle
you’ve touched her shell
now every night
fists swinging
you cross A1A to the beach
to show me the sea turtle
rocking sand over her eggs

she was like something you were afraid
to believe
moving out from the night waves

as we wait for the sea turtle
yellow lightning opens
the black sky
a full moon and a broken chaise lounge
two shells melded together back to back

this sorrow that has already lost you
this mooning for the skin of your penis
inside my womb
the salt spray of your semen
in the middle of my month
a consummation dissolving unbreakable shells

no sea turtle comes
no victorious swimmer
bright drops of blood on the white linoleum

i see her
huge shell angling up the beach
i’m alone
and run back to get you
it isn’t the chase, the pleasure
it’s the meeting
of sperm and egg
the slow night crawl up
from the waves
flippers tracing the sand
an ancient memory of birth

wendy shaffer

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