From the truck, only the shell is visible,
a brown dome peaking out of the water,
but as they reach in to grasp the turtle,
I see the brown head and long flippers
hanging useless with no traction in the air
rather than struggling to swim or flee.
Once the turtle is settled in the truck bed,
I climb into the passenger's seat for a bumpy
ride on the dirt roads to the channel.
Back in the water, the turtle moves slowly,
its fins taking calm, measured strokes
as it moves with the tide, against the wind.
Long minutes pass and it hasn't reached
the first bend, but we've done enough,
we don't need to witness its struggles.