I wasn’t supposed to touch the two glazed ceramic turtles
on Gramma’s wood-paneled TV, so I picked one up.
Cool underbelly in my palm, I turned it over—
something wasn’t right.
It had privates. Human privates. Just like mine,
except for some painted black squiggles of hair.
I wanted to undo what I’d done. I swallowed
the echo of my mother telling me
what her mother told her, and what
her mother’s mother had also said
to sinful children: God will punish you.
Behind the sliding glass door,
Gramma lifts her glass:
Here’s to all who wish us well.
All the rest can go to hell.