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Saturday, July 02, 2011


by Linda Lerner

“Flight delays as JFK airport runway (is) taken over by turtles!”
                          New York Daily News June 29, 2011

this is about dozens of turtles
a mid eastern restaurant we sat in on Atlantic Avenue
                hungry and broke
turtles crawling onto the tarmac at JFK
delaying flights for over an hour
this is about watching you slowly bite off
a piece of lamb from a skewer as
you watched me do the same  and we
inched our way thru couscous into baklava
            past closing time
turtles crawling toward the grassy marshlands
on the other side of the runway to lay their eggs
this is about wondering what it feels like
                to be a turtle...
we never looked  at the bill
we kept on eating   the waiters kept looking at their watches
air traffic controllers threw up their hands in frustration
people sat in planes waiting for the turtles to get across
nobody asked  what they do once their eggs were laid
            where they’ll go

this is  about love sick turtles
It is about a meal we never finished

Linda Lerner's Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (New & Selected Poems) has just been published by New York Quarterly Press.