The Tortoise and The Hare
When the bell rang to end recess, we
Climbed the winding road
From the playground to the
Red brick school building.
When we saw the turtle
Plastered to the black asphalt.
We covered our mouths in horror.
Some careless car drove too fast
On the curve and the turtle was
Dead, even his shell, that thick
Home he carried on his back
Fragmented and crushed.
I saw him as he must have looked
In his final moments, serious and slow, placing
One tiny mottled green foot before the other,
The sun hot on his little neck,
Before the sudden squeal of tires,
The desperate struggle to move
And the gruesome death,
The crush and bloody drag through the street.
I expected the fat white hare, smug
And gloating up ahead
Or perhaps still dozing under the sun
On a bleached rock in his dusty white fur.
When he’d wake, he’d hop blissfully
Down the road without a care.
If a car appeared, he’d sprint
And dart laughingly away. Slow and steady
Didn’t make you win, I thought.
It got you killed. All at once we startled
And windmilling our arms and legs
Ran panting to our classroom praying