From the seldom-cleaned
bubbling tanks of local pet stores,
we “rescued” them—
at least six over two years—
our yellow-bellied sliders,
pet turtles transformed
into raceway drivers,
no cars needed.
Five hundred feet
of Hot Wheels track,
and we were unstoppable,
piecing together sharp plastic
the grand finale
a roller-coaster dive down
two flights of carpeted stairs,
just in time for Sunday supper.
The thrill of that push,
the silence of those who survived
to “drive” again the routes we chose,
those who crashed too many times
later transported to the outside arena
beneath the crowded Forget-Me-Nots
alongside the expired fireflies,
the timid hamster,
the too-slow buried hare.
Forgive us, goldfish and guinea pig,
deer and garden snake.
Forgive us, all breathing creatures,
our many trespasses
re-named in the name
of “harmless play.”