The World Is Named After Turtles

Tortugas, New Mexico

Quick with backpack, slipping in, I pray Our Lady intercedes. I pray Our Lady in her halo of red roses watches over, when bugle starts the finish, when Jlo crosses over. Children with their tickets in their fists – come on, Paco. Viejos leaning in – whadya doin’, Mundo? The big man on the stage says everybody’s in. A cheer goes up for desert boxes, red-eared sliders, the yellow mud that averages 40 seconds every 30 centimeters. They’ll stop if they see shadows. I can’t see the track for kids with painted faces, raffle cakes. The nimble striding from the start, limping to the finish – come on, Super Octane! I pray Our Lady keeps them in the custody of grace.

Kathleen Hellen’s latest poetry collection is The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin. Her credits include two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento, and her prize-winning collection Umberto’s Night. Hellen’s work has appeared in New American Writing, New Letters, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Rumpus, among others.

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