In this week’s poem, Kate Kearns praises the miracle of finding a way into life, by instinct, and against all odds and dangers. I love this poem’s keen, fond eye for sea turtle hatchlings, who face a world of dangers as they leave the nest, and I love the last few stanzas’ sudden turn from turtles to human love.

Kearns’ book “You Are Ruining My Loneliness” was published by Littoral Books, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Peregrine, Salamander, Sugar House Review and other journals. She lives in Scarborough.

No One Taught Us Lifelong Love
By Kate Kearns

Sea turtles hatched under hot sand,
sand for eyes, stinging grit for flippers

just strong enough to pull impossible bodies.
Heavy on dry land and those bony shells,

tough but nervy as hell. It’s the only thing to do,
that flailing, that urge to reach whatever’s next.


Gulls overhead, beaks ready. Sharks eager the shallows.
The turtles swat and push the sand aside

until they’re leaving the hole,
no clue it’s a miracle to make it to solid sand,

to print a symmetrical line toward, toward,
toward that weightless current. Here we are,

one of us asleep under the umbrella, the other
fully in the sun and reading in a low chair,

you in your brown sun hat,
my fingers twitching on your arm.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “No One Taught Us Lifelong Love,” © 2024 by Kate Kearns, appears by permission of the author.

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