Conquest: Turtle Island

by Renée Olander

I.
On the Bay this morning,
not far from beach bathers
who mostly gave it wide berth,
a dead turtle washed up,
like a whole sordid decade,
a gelled and whitened blob,
sand crusted, half eaten,
and faintly stinking.
A few gawkers pressed near
as if it were a circus, before
six men in blue marine
science uniforms
hauled it off for study.

II.
Another woman’s body on the beach
waterlogged
someone stumbled on her
a whole body, not a headless torso
like one a dump truck driver
spotted last week, spilling from a trash heap,
no sign of her legs or hands.
After the news I dreamt my hands
were cut off, and the train I rode
barreled through industrial
bowels of seaboard cities.
Sunset near the edge of town,
a streak comes down through clouds
and lights a mound of landfill.