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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 3, September 2016

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Charlotte Mandel
West Caldwell, New Jersey, USA


Saratoga Springs Encounter

Green algae clog the lake nourished by waste toxins from the racetrack. I walk past on the edge of the highway towards the track entrance. Just after sunrise, I've come out to see the horses exercised. On the public road lodges an old tortoise with filthy toenails, mud-colored fungus on odoriferous shell, thick body and toothless sharp beak.

“Are you dead?” I shout, and stamp my foot to get a rise out of it. The left front foot stirs. “Get out of the road!” Not the slightest movement. “I don’t want you to be hit by a car!” The front knee bends. I stamp in staccato thumping. “Move!” Two more knees bend, then a fourth and the creature drags an inch forward. I stamp, it drags itself forward, leaving a wet greenish trail on the pavement until it flopped on the grass border. The sun is high.

slow trek
from toxic lake
hot asphalt

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