MAY 24, 2022

Turtles come to shore, dig holes and lay their eggs.
City workers arrange orange cones
and what looks like police
tape to protect them—do I need to say it?—
the way humans don’t always protect
our own children. City officials dim
streetlights so mama turtles can find
their way in the dark, no glare.
Once, before light bulbs, we must
have all went to bed and rose
around the same time. The man
who sets up the lounge chairs uses a drill
to make a starter hole for happy kids
so their shovels will more easily dig out
that moat around their fantastical sandcastle
so the sand people inside will be safe from attack.
Then, to protect us from the sun, the man drills
another hole near the lounge chairs
and pitches an umbrella
through that ground-down rock
that speeds today
through twenty-one tiny hourglasses
in Texas. In Florida, we await
the baby turtles to hatch.

Denise Duhamel’s most recent books of poetry are Pink Lady (Pittsburgh, 2025), Second Story (Pittsburgh, 2021), and Scald (2017). Blowout (2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a Distinguished University Professor in the MFA program at Florida International University in Miami.