Finding a Turtle Nest at Sullivan Island
by Grant Clauser

At night we shut off the house lights
so returning turtles know which way
to face the moon, and mornings
we find the tide trying to hide
the signs she left in sand, the chiseled
notes like music leading to the sea.

So what’s the chance this clutch
her journey left gripped in sand
will end in oceans—ten or fifty lives
traversing the great blue alone,
the way they do, the weight they
carry home only to return at night by moon?

We were holding hands when we found
it, surf churning through the morning
behind us and gulls hunting dunes
for shallow nests. We hoped that wind
and time would hide it, we hope that
life is easier than this, the fight for light,

for air, for time to make a break and beat
the sun to sea, but there’s no telling,
no guarantee eggs will last or the moon
will lead them where they’re safe and so
love becomes an instinct, the urge to follow
what the body needs against the current.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 2.

Grant Clauser works as a home technology writer. His poems have appeared in The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cortland Review, Wisconsin Review, Blueline and others. In 2010 he was named the Montgomery County Poet Laureate by Robert Bly. His book The Trouble with Rivers (Foothills Publishing) was published in 2012.

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