a turtle pond

TurtlePondthe eager upturned faces of the amphibious vegetarians
peeking morally from out of the organic murk
the hundreds of anonymous grey minnows
viciously darting about, trading positions like atoms
riding on the submerged backs of their musky-shelled
politely expecting, staring, asking, wanting
pushing forth their geometric little bodies
shoving, coyly swimming at various paces
jabbing the sunny shadows of patchy light
meeting neck to orange-striped neck in comical aggressive embrace
patrolling the wet sludgy perimeter
beware of granddaddy grey, wise fishy intruder
observing the leafy corralled island
dunking spherical shells and limbs and nosy heads
beneath the occasional sapphire flitting dragonfly
dreamily watching the optical illusions of the shallow depths
the affectionately brief nose kisses.

Cali, ninth grade, downtown summer camp


Headed Somewhere Unimportant on a Hot Day

SidewalkWalking down a numbered street
I have just left my father’s car
and the air conditioning is still settled
in the bottoms of my shoes
encasing my feet, the feeling
soaking through my soles,
up into the muscles of my legs.

I continue to walk forward,
noticing tar spots on the sidewalk,
the concrete looking like
the floor of a painter’s studio.

I walk past a man
who is deflated on the curb,
returning to reality roughly,
piece by piece.
His eyes are closed
and his breath creaks like
the wind creaks through an abandoned house.
He coughs, and I avert my gaze,
walking forward.

The sunlight has had hours now
to soak through the sidewalk,
the asphalt, and the buildings.
I look away from the shimmering cityscape,
and focus on the sun.
I feel the heat sink in and replace the cool air in my shoes.

Olivia, tenth grade, downtown summer camp