Meg Freer

From Inside the Turtle

A turtle stands on my shelf, laden with treasure
from around the world: shillings, markka, stotinki,
one golden koruna, a heptagon worth 50 pence,
the nine hands on the back clasped together
in a gesture of trust. Queen Elizabeth
wears youthful ribbons until age and wisdom
demand a sedate crown. An Australian feathertail
on a penny glides across time, meets the American
crocodile that defines five cents in Jamaica.

This woven turtle bank, from a basket shop in Nogales,
holds a long-lived cache of prosthetic memories, still sees
my parents pull me to safety, hears them exclaim, “Not for sale!”
Peripatetic coins shine on a dark past, recall the story of a man
who offered money for a golden-haired toddler
in a brown-skinned land, where coins could buy a girl.

no one should have to clean up after an angel

I’ve lived on the edge, been touched by, saved
by angels who leave behind sanctuary not stains

I hosed down the pavement, washed away
a memory, allowed time to flow on

past a pale face, wispy blond hair that flowed
into a river of red where it was too late to say

you make me smile, you make me laugh,
my days are much better with you in them,

you bring beauty into the world, into my world
I couldn’t save the angel who crashed to earth

from a roof above into my world where a white
sheet moves from toe to head, covers the red

a circle of red roses, white carnations,
and it was quiet, no sirens for the dead


Meg Freer grew up in Montana and lives in Ontario. Her poems have won awards and have been accepted for publication in chapbook anthologies and journals such as NatureWriting, COG, Young Ravens Literary Review, Eastern Iowa Review and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she won a writing  fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi. She enjoys being active outdoors year-round, taking photos, and running, and wishes she had more time for writing poetry.

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