Pockets of Youth: Turtle Soup

she sat on the school bus

in the back surrounded by stupid boys,

stupid me.

she was from Tennessee.

she spoke with an accent

something southern, something sexy

but still sort of strange.

so we teased her with,

“turtle soup, turtle soup.”

so clever, cruel,

“turtle soup,”

before and after school.

well, one day she was scratched by a cat,

her cat, maybe our cats,

she showed us, we laughed.

they were shallow cuts,

a decision was made.

but incisions were made,

up and down her wrists. 

as the bus stopped and stopped,

the boys stepped off one by one

until it was just us.

“you did this,”

she said so sweetly, sharply.

it cut through my psyche,

through time.

i wonder if she ever thinks of me

when she reaches into her

pockets of youth.

the boy who slit her wrists.

turtle soup, turtle soup

“Turtle Soup”

©Steven Cuenca

I am a Frog

i am a frog

leaping from one thing to the next

restless, jumpy

my legs think they’re wings

i’ll fly, i’ll live in the moment before impact

“I am a Frog”

©Steven Cuenca


i used to think i fell in love with you
but now i know i climbed into it

i climbed so fucking high,
where the air was thin
and you were nowhere in sight

are you afraid of heights?
did your arms grow tired?
maybe the farther up i went
the more discouraged you grew
or maybe climbing just isn’t your thing

whatever it was,
i’m way up here
lonely in love

i guess the trick to being happy is
climbing slower than the other person
keeping close to the ground
so that you can jump off at any moment

i’m so high at this point
it’ll take me years to fall out of love
and at the moment of impact
i’d be destroyed

so i might as well keep climbing


©Steven Cuenca