Hoan Kiem Turtle by Richard Stevenson

Hoan Kiem Turtle
Richard Stevenson

Only one Hoan Kiem Turtle left
in Hoan Kiem Lake, Japan;
only five specimens known to exist.


Not as big as the legend has claimed,
but acclaimed nonetheless. Big as a table,
but soft and leathery as a couch.


How to find a play date or mate
for Hoan Kiem’s favourite denizen now?
No cryptid now; situation critical. What to do?

Japan’s scoured the bottom, is replacing
cement with sand on one end of the lake
so the turtles can, once again, lay eggs.

A heartening tale, anyway. Makes you
wish you could build sandcastles again.
Maybe even learn to live in them.

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