Sunflower Turtle by Diane Palka

DianePalkaShe rock and rolls through life in a dusty
fuel-efficient car through prairie grass,
cows, wheat, corn, sunflowers.
The naive turtle laughs at prairie tornados
that rock and roll her world.
The doo-wop of her life filled with violin lightning
and piano thunder, now replaced by staccato
of withered leaves that now crush underfoot
scatter in bitter winds.
Her world much older now, yet she feels the same.
Rocking must be more than just a chair.
Care and giver, once two words never used together
drag her into the blue end – cold and deep.
Unable to whirl in the country winds that bound from field
to field, she can’t find sunflowers for all the blue
she struggles to surface
stay afloat.
In her newfound wisdom as a tortoise
she carries them on her back to shelter them.
She plods along the dusty gravel roads in her tiny car
does what she can, not what she wants.
Give her violins, pianos, give her rock and roll
give her doo-wop, let her rock around prairie tornadoes
instead of rocking in a chair
because there isn’t much time left
for sunflowers, thunder or lightning.

Diane Palka is a resident in rural Overbrook. She worked as a secretary/bookkeeper in Lawrence and Kansas City. Diane became interested in poetry as an adult. Now retired, she has turned her attention to writing poetry. She enjoys writing free verse and Japanese forms of poetry, specifically, haiku, senryu, haibun.

– August Guest Editor: William J. Karnowski is the author of seven books of poetry; Pushing the Chain, The Hills of Laclede, Painting the Train, Hardtails and Highways, Catching the Rain, Dispensation, and The Sodhouse Green. He has poetry published in Kansas Voices, The Midwest Quarterly, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, Kansas Author Club Yearbooks and multiple website locations. Karnowski is the current State President of Kansas Authors Club.

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