Baby Turtle Emerging, by Emily Brooks

The symbolism of the turtle emerging stands out to me both in terms of springtime . . .

. . . and the queer experience.  One day, an image popped into my head: that of a young painted turtle, hiding in its sunrise-striped shell, afraid of making its way into the new social world as springtime finally arrives.  As the queer little creature gathers the strength to “come out” of its shell, it realizes that a community of support and love was waiting there all along.  Now free, and coming into its own, the baby turtle is ready to face the world without fear.

Baby Turtle Emerging

Painted turtle babe,

Stuck inside an artist shell,

Feels the need to hide.

Blinking back small tears,

Too timid to peer outside,

Fearing what they’ll say.

Gathers up the courage

Peeps a head out, and — surprise!

Ten supportive eyes.

Cannonball and splash!

Older, wiser friends are near

Fear has swum away.

Emily Brooks

is a journalist who advocates for other queer and gender-nonconforming people through her writing. Currently, Emily writes from Brooklyn, New York, where she works with children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing issues, and other special needs. 

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