Because a tortoise named Fleming discovered a drug that, when I caught pneumonia at age six, saved my life.

Because the Charles Atlas Terrapin of Huckenshuck, New York, changed me, in three days, from a 98-pound weakling to a 300-pound All-Pro guard.

Because, watching those bowed reptilian legs hoist the shell’s palanquin, then trudge, double-time, across the grass, who wouldn’t smile?

Cover Page Footnote

Why Are Your Poems Full of Turtles? was originally published at Booth.