Scratching

My preparation for work is accompanied by the
dry, rasping sound of a turtle
scratching at the cardboard sides of a
box on the floor behind me,
trying desperately to escape what has
become an all too confining experience.

Its scratching is no different than that which is mine so
civilized and endless upon the page.
The ink the terrapin uses is invisible but we
write the same thing.
The subject is freedom.
My box
this office
plugged in machine
screen
is no less a prison.

I step away from the preparation
of curriculum,
sneak down the school stairs,
poke my head through the shell of the door into the sun.

Outside I watch the turtle slowly disappear into the grass.

(Began May 4, 1999 while teaching in Washington DC and finished while musing on said experience August 24, 2011)

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