My thoughts have been sharpened by these days of forest fires, a pandemic and the politics of hate. When I look at a photo I took of a turtle in a river bed several years ago, I see a military helmet, now more than ever. Perspectives are shaped by personal experiences. I once crawled under barbed wire while bullets jetted over me, a military exercise designed to replicate battle. Don’t stand up. It was too late to ask why am I here?

Last night I rewrote a poem about both experiences: the exercise in 1969 and the river bed in a national park in 2018. But I still have to ask, why am I here?

The Helmet

 I see an abandoned helmet

In a dried out river bed,

With the air unzipping quickly overhead,

Its metal teeth exploding

As I crawl like an alligator,

To the other side.

Rocks cut my chest,

Blood warms my skin,

Oh, brave turtle, in my journey

To the other side–

I will never be safe.

2 Replies to “Poetic Insight”

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