Sulcata Tortoise 1 CC BY 2.0 by John5199
The dirt is dry and red and cloudy
where she digs, curved claws batting
clumps aside, body lowering as the burrow grows
Her arms are stiff and persistent,
are wind carving the rocks smooth, are
lumbering and graceful both.
There are brown rainbows
swirled into her cracked body.
Scaly skin that gathers as
it bends — crinkled cowl, blinking eyes
that see more colours than we do, yet
she may never search the night, watch the
sky tremble with the majesty of the Milky Way
and curl its yellows, purples, pinks
to match the pattern on her shell.
Soon she will be out of sight,
a smudge within a shadow.
Soon the only sign of her will be the
soil she kicks into a pile.
Soon she will lay a clutch of
sixteen eggs, each of which will hatch
in the perfect desert heat; each
of which will learn to live alone.