Over the summer my best friend gave me Mark Doty’s new book A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures. As he knew, poems about animals with silhouette illustrations was a big hit. This one is especially good, and I think about it when I see a someone slow down for a squirrel on a canyon road or when I let the spider keep living in the corner.

I stop the car, on Three Mile Harbor Road,
because a young box turtle is making his way

across our lane,and Alexander hops out
to help him. One SUV pulls up behind me,

then another, and soon the first
wants to pass me on the right,

so Alexander opens the passenger
door to block the way, and I raise my arm

to signal stop, and Alexander
scurries the little engine along toward

the water side of the road. Later,
heading on into town, we look at each other

in a sudden wave of delight, having stilled
the machines, and thwarted the hurry,

and sent some seven or eight ounces of life
on to the next whatever, which is all anyone

can do for anyone else, though that
doesn’t explain our joy.