Turkey, Dog, Turtle Turtle Turtle

March 18, 2017

In this week's viral video,

Thirty turkeys circling a cat corpse

Clucking in cycles as if to raise the dead,

Necks craned to see

Mathematicians observe the orbit,

So many minute hands on a clock, cluck cluck,

Time’s numbers falling off into the melting street,

Beyond strange

 

In Sherwood Anderson's short, 

A dull and strong woman trekking in the winter chill, 

Lies down for the last time by the pine trunk where

There are dogs sniffing at the sack of meat she's

Just tried to shorthaul home through the woods, 

They ransack her bags and sparse clothes, leaving the white body exposed

Ravished now with blood, they run in wild circles for hours

Carving infinity into the snow for the town to see when they arrive

Perplexed and haunted

 

In Cool Hand Luke,

The boss sends Paul Newman to fetch

The turtle he’s just shot out of the water,

With a one-buck smile, he sticks in a tree branch and

Brings it out, clinging on by its jaws,

A red puncture dead center its shell, 

Deader than hell but won’t let go 

That old Luke smile

 

In Campus News,

A thirty pound snapping turtle tries to relocate but

The headmaster takes it from Main Street and

Brings it home, planning to make soup, but

Three girls sneak in during class and steal the snapper

Back into the pond, who later goes belly up to tell that the water is toxic;

Schoolchildren circle the dead pool one evening,

Holding vigil in its wake

 

In Achebe's novel,

When the sweet-tongued Tortoise tricks

All of the birds out of a gracious meal from the Sky People,

They take back their feathers and leave him stranded

On the clouds, but he convinces Parrot to deliver a message

To his wife, which Parrot mistranslates, so Mrs Tortoise carries

All the hard things out of the home instead of the soft things,

And Tortoise plummets from the sky into his own machetes and cannons,

Surviving, but breaking its shell

For every generation to come 

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