Old Turtle

The yellow flame of the open fire

Licked the black pot

Making the water boil for

Great Grandmother, Choctaw Maiden,

To prepare the turtle for

Great Grandfather.


Great Grandmother had watched

The large slow, turtle for

Many moons

Knowing that here indeed

Was a magnificent creature

Having lived at least

75 years,

50 more than she.


Grandmother had often spoken

With Old Turtle, wise creature

Prone to leading Great Grandmother

To the best ginseng roots

And mushrooms…the clearest

Coolest water and small smooth pebbles.


Grandfather, drunk on white rot

Found her one day conversing

With wise Old Turtle and

Thinking she was afraid…

Shot the creature.


Great Grandmother, to honor her

Wise old friend

Made a perfect fire of dry oak twigs

Found the clearest stream

Washed the best pot

Filed it with clear pebbles

And dressed her friend carefully

For Great Grandfather’s


(c) copyright

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