Jesse Schweppe

Turtle, Egret and Grass

     Egret wears a lace plume at her belly,
the rest is a suspect spear, or tip
     of sallow needle in the dragonfly air.

     Turtle has a snake-head, black eyes
on a wet log. Two play stare.
     Grass is judge. Corne on sun, all eon.

     A stick underwater, minnows swim
though Egret's toes. She
     rivets a pale eye to a crescent ripple,

     elongates her neck and loses her prey
by waving it. Meander can't keep
     straight-fish in her belly wriggle.

     Turtle is turbid. As sun's aluminum
walks across the water, Turtle
     slips in, floats on webbed propellers,

     swimming lower, this helmet drifts
into the dark to eat the judge.
     On sunken mud, Turtle is drawn out

     in tangerine-a dribble of the sun's
peregrination. His plates
     are a back-pocket and soil to hide in.

     Egret calls herself an horologe. Out
of a mangrove thicket, she finds
     her toes in a root and plucks them up.

     migratory ghost, a white annunciation.
To lecture on narrowness,
     she nests in a stick acropolis.

     Turtle is time metered-the egg of it
grows with his driddling gait
     and he will not take a bird as seriously

     as he takes his painted face. Who trusts
a flag on a string? Or a god
     from the machinery? Panoply doesn't

     when Egret creeps by a reed and a stained¨
glass iris, she slinks without
     a petal quake, closing her backward

     knees and silent feet, a carbon valve;
she pushes the air-hose
     of her neck around a taller cat-tail,

     strikes her bill into a shallow, idea
for a harpoon. A fish raised
     to the sun swims down a bird's throat.

     She steps in a stalky crowd-just as
jointed-as she looks to the pond,
     hops out, floats up, wing baff and glide.

     Turtle rolls around the reeds, haptic
crawler, a dropsy cycle, he pads
     his way to a log, drying his shell.

     Turtle taunts with a dirgful smile,
Grass is a gate to pass for this
     velociped, while a tall wader is all flash

     and doom; the bird gets bothered by its
own svelte head, turn the wind,
     her right eye forgets which side it sees.

     For Turtle, klein-bottles tuck the riddle;
secrete your head, giant birds
     may flap, waving tips, Grass may admire

     Egret's egress-but Turtle will outlast all
and at his minute locomotion,
     a puddle is deeper than the incessant sky.