On the logs, the turtles dry in the sun:
cooters, map turtles, sliders.
As I approach, they drop, one by one,
into the river and swim away.
A box turtle is swept along,
bobs up and down, helpless,
wiggles her feet and stretches her neck,
trying to keep her head above water.
I reach her with my paddle,
scoop her up – she slides off with a splash
and floats further. Disappears
under a downed tree.
Reappears, struggling downstream.
I overtake her, grab her by the shell,
plop her into my kayak. Ferry her to the shore,
carry her inland to a patch of grass.
She takes off swiftly. No sign
of hesitation or bewilderment.
Some day she may tell the other turtles
about her encounter with God.
The One who Left
Like water flowing downhill,
letters now travel
only in one direction.
Life goes on for those who stayed;
a circle with one person missing
is still a circle.
The one who left floats,
fragile tethers frayed
by the teeth of time and distance.
After some years,
even the Christmas cards
Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics at Missouri S&T and hikes the Ozarks. She is the author of Porous Land (Spartan Press, 2019) and The Eden of Perhaps (Spartan Press, 2020), and her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines. Her website is agnesvojta.com, and her facebook page is @AgnesVojtaPoetry.