Insects of the desert serenade the moonlit night.
Jutting rocks and yucca shimmer ghostly in the light.
Tortoise hisses warnings to intruders with no ears,
Only dancing shadows playing on the creature’s fears.

Deep within his burrow, patterned after his great shell,
Dark and domed and hidden in the depths of desert’s dell,
Sleepless nights continue in procession, single file,
Daylight hours seem endless filled with worry all the while.

Never does he venture from his hole in desert’s floor,
Living on the ants and bugs that wander through his door.
Though he’s ever thirsty he’ll do nothing more than yawn,
Hoping to catch dewdrops that arrive before the dawn.

Sunlight beckons daily to a life both full and free,
Dreams the tortoise wishes that would someday come to be.
Visions of impending doom from predator’s attack,
And fear of off-road vehicles forge chains that hold him back.

Each new day there’s fewer than there were day before,
How much longer will it be ‘till tortoise is no more?
Discontent and loneliness are growing deep within,
More than thirst and hunger cause a longing to begin.

Boldness born from needs unmet now drives him to the door,
Fear and courage battle in a fierce and final war.
Crushed between two forces, one from nature, one from man,
The struggle for survival must continue while it can.