Listening to those among us who are quiet – even mute -- is becoming an increasingly urgent matter.
By Cindy Washabaugh
She’s trying to tell you something, see how she’s
straining, her neck taut, her quiet eyes searching out
your own? She’s come a long way to say this, far
from the warm marsh where she left her eggs buried
in soft mud, trusting the sun to look after them.
It’s taken her so many days, pulling herself along,
planting her thick feet, pushing off, planting.
She’s been turned on her back by thoughtless children,
she’s braved busy roads, her skin is parched and cracking.
But she has to tell you this, it’s the only hope she has,
the only hope you have. Now study the ridges and whorls,
the patterns on her shell. See if you can find some picture
hidden there, something that will help you to understand,
something that will shape her silent words for you,
that will keep her from dropping her sweet, tired face
from yours, from drawing herself into a place so deep
she feels like she could sleep forever.Cindy Washabaugh is a poet and writer whose work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and other publications. She teaches courses in creative writing and writing for healing and growth throughout Northeast Ohio and leads diverse community projects and workshops in the creative arts. She has been a Cleveland Heights resident for 18 years.