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Sharon Waller Knutson


Every morning we see him
at a quarter past nine
passing the saguaro

and the prickly pear
as he trucks down the middle
of Elephant Butte Road

like a miniature pickup topped
with a white camper shell
striped blue on the sides.

We lift him up and carry
him across the desert
where we gently point

him in the opposite direction.
But no matter how far we take him,
he is back in the middle of the road

at the same place and the same time
with his nose pointed ahead
and his tiny legs motoring along

like a commuter on his way to work
or on his way to meet a friend
for breakfast at the local cafe.

This poem first appeared in Desert Directions (2015).
Used here with the author's permission.



Sharon Waller Knutson lives in a house her husband, Albert, built out of clay from the land on a dirt road in the middle of a wildlife habitat and open range of the Arizona desert. A retired journalist, she writes poetry for readers who don’t normally read poetry. In 2014, Sharon sold her chapbook, My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields, to winter visitors from all over the world in a café where her husband played guitar and sang country music. Her customers told her they expected her to publish a new poetry book when they returned each year so, in 2015, she published Desert Directions, about her life in the desert. In 2016, she published They Affectionately Call Her a Dinosaur, poems about her customers and other seniors in her life who started new careers, businesses, and relationships after they retired. In 2017, she published I Did it Anyway, poems about how she broke the glass ceiling in the newspaper business in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when women were typically relegated to the society pages. Many more books followed, and now Sharon maintains an entertaining blog called Storyteller Poetry Review. Sharon and Albert (now retired from his music gig) stay busy raising assorted critters and enjoying their 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.


Post New Comment:
Entertaining--awesome! Janice
Posted 05/23/2017 04:24 PM
This is great fun.
Posted 05/23/2017 02:17 PM
Slow & steady smiles! Building upon this shining poem. Thanks,Sharon.
Posted 05/23/2017 01:04 PM
Delightful picture. In my experience, with midwestern turtles, when they're on the move they're going to lay their eggs someplace with diggable soil, away a bit from a lake. So rerouting them is rude. Maybe terrapins are different.
Posted 05/23/2017 12:24 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
Thank you all for the wonderful comments on my poem. It makes me happy to put smiles on readers' faces. Yes, this is a true story as are most of my poems because I have had so many adventures in my lifetime that I like to share. We live four miles from town on a dirt road out in the middle of the desert with the wildlife. One time we hauled the tortoise in our pickup and brought him two miles to our property thinking he would just disappear into the desert but he headed back on the road. For some reason, that particular spot was home to him. That was years ago. We saw other tortoises on the road also but not for years.
Posted 05/23/2017 09:50 AM
Larry Schug:
Maybe he or she is heading to Terrapin Station! (Dead Heads will understand). Thanks for keeping eye on this creature and for sharing a cool poem.
Posted 05/23/2017 08:52 AM
Slow and steady!! Good for the soul! Love it!!
Posted 05/23/2017 08:29 AM
Sarah Russell:
This is just perfect!
Posted 05/23/2017 04:05 AM

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