Hannah M.


Step One: Calm
“Go get Willy!” my dad yells
sun burnt and lazy, I trudge up to the house
pretending I don’t hear my dad’s commands,
I hang up my towel on the clothesline
I smell the barbeque.
The Fourth of July!
My dad’s initial warnings are lost in my mind.
Taken over by thoughts of fireworks, friends and family
I eat dinner happily, laughing and joking with my friends.
“Why isn’t Willy in his tank, Hannah?”
I’m sheepish. “Oops.”
I shuffle through the grass of my backyard
As I reach the small wire fence that is Willy’s second home
My eyes dart back and forth, searching for his little green shell.
I kneel down, patting my hand over the matted grass.

Step two: Panic.
Where has he gone?
My hand pats the ground faster
I rake my fingers through the grass.
My vision goes blurry, this can’t be happening!
My pet of eight years, sure I didn’t feed him sometimes
But I can’t imagine my room without his tank in the corner,
Or, “No, I don’t have any pets.”
My feet pound in unison with my head, back towards the house
“Dad, I think Willy ran away!”

Step three: Denial
My friends laugh in disbelief.
“He can’t have gotten very far, let’s go on a Willy hunt!”
We pull flashlights from the basement
We search through every inch of the backyard
“He’s not gone, Hannah. He can’t be lost.”
We continue past the backyard, into the open world
He must be lost. He’s probably scared.
We’re nearing the house, back to the beginning
At the end of the loop, we are beginning to give up hope
The flashlight beams start to move around less and less
until they go off completely.

Step four: Defeat
With empty hands, we approach the house
Nothing to show for our search except flashlights with low batteries
We retrace over the trampled grass
No one bothers to triple-check
Willy’s gone, and when we reach the door,
The irony of the situation hits me:
My turtle has run away.


Copyright 2002-2007 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2007 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.