Jupiter Island

by Eileen Thalenberg

At midnight, when the moon is full
She rises from the sea, carried by the current to the shore
Drawn to the place where she was born,
Driven by an ancient yearning not her own.

No one knows the lonely distances she’s travelled
What marvels she has seen on the ocean floors
What host of jewel-coloured fish greeted her
Through striae of morning light,
What sinewy tentacles she narrowly escaped
In order to arrive.

The immensity of earth stretches before her,
One step, then another
Her limbs are not made for the density of sand.
Her advance is painful and slow,
Her mouth opens and closes in mute memory of water.

The warmth of the sand has begun to recede
One agonizing step, then another,
Obeying a law she will never comprehend
She hauls her heavy carapace through the endless dunes
Until she comes to rest at the appointed place
Her homecoming complete.

Now the labour begins,
The digging, the hurry,
The sand desperately flying,
All four legs – a whirly-gig in motion.

Below her a pit appears for her to straddle.
Her obsidian eyes stare blankly.
Somewhere there is a flicker
In the recesses of her reptilian brain…


Then it begins –
One gleaming egg after another,
Bathed in moonlight
Drops into the pit
Ten, twenty, thirty…
Softly they fall – barely a sound
The air is still.

Now the scraping sound of her legs
Flicking sand until the pit is filled
Her treasure buried, her work complete.

So it was for a birth she was summoned…
Whose final stage she’s not destined to attend
She turns toward the light –
Moonlight on water
And begins her slow return to the sea.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2