Snapping Turtle

Gerry LaFemina

That season we called spring, how the turtles would leave
Houghton Lake to cross the four lanes of 127
toward the old spawning grounds, or try to—
occasional cars careening over their lost-hubcap bodies,

crushed carcasses lining the roadside. One afternoon,
not wanting to give up belief in what’s possible,
I pulled onto the shoulder & lifted one—
she was large, surprisingly heavy, & I hefted her

toward the other side, arms outstretched as she stretched
her neck right then left, mouth biting at air,
her claws scratching at nothingness
for she couldn’t know I was trying to save her.