the wax paper

Tom Pescatore

once there was a turtle pond empty to the eye

once there was a turtle pond

empty to the eye

at the center of its green muck

a glowing pupil

a spotlight buried in its depth

from it illuminated at the surface

was the coming into focus

swimming body of a small turtle

a turtle! a turtle alone in this big pond!

swimming on spiked little toes!

a turtle! I said a Turtle I painted its life

and springing from that turtle

and its birth in my mind

another turtle spawned

now the pond slowly took focus

there were countless turtles swimming

I tried to retain the original turtle in my sight

the first turtle of creation


having become the swarm

along the banks literal piles of turtle

roosting shell to shell in the night

on their turtle wall

in their turtle pond

I had glimpsed the long life of their home

from one turtle came the many

multitude billions

from this turtle pond I had glimpsed the history

of all the turtles of the earth


Crouch above Travertine Spring

naked in the cool sierra breeze

spread my past along the plains

where I have been

what way is done? all my life

green hills sink into foreground

night hills return spun by hand

gods of road—

carry me home some thousand miles more

tho I don’t want to go—I’m not ready

—still you wink you Kansas stars

written by flashlight

over the map

Oakley Salina Manhattan

Junction City

straight line you stretch

America back to streets

—I know

but forgive me

places memories lives


back the brake—the engine cold

ignition every morning

same old

without a key

~Oakley, KS 6/30/17

Tom Pescatore can sometimes be seen wandering along the Walt Whitman Bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row. He might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He claims ownership of a poetry blog: His novel Boxcar Bop is forthcoming Fall 2018.