Head, flippers, tail and shell—
you, helmeted sea creature
who swims beneath me in
this turquoise, Caribbean sea.

You are not showy, do your job,
shoveling through water,
lifting your reptilian head like
a pliant periscope, gulping air,
then gliding to the bottom
to eat whatever green may lie there.

The she of you lays eggs each year,
pearly ovals shadowed by the flight
of raptors. How many hatchlings
make it back to sea? How many taken?

It is the way of things I fight against,
being human and anticipating death
while you observe the momentary shift of light
and then its leaving, darkness only one more fold
in the brief and glorious twilight.

Sue Budin is published in Poetica, Ibbetson Street Press, Third Wednesday, and other journals. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and before retirement, was a librarian at the public library. She enjoys reading, art, children, and gardens.