This from "Late Wife," by Claudia Emerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Buying the Painted Turtle
Two boys, not quite men, pretended to let it go
only to catch it again and again. And the turtle,
equally determined, each time gave
its heart to escape them. We were near
the base of the old dam where the river
became a translucent, hissing wall, fixed
in falling, where, by the size of it, the turtle
had long trusted its defense, the streaming
algae, green, black, red -- the garden of its spine --
not to fail it. They held it upside down,
the yellow plantron exposed; they hoisted it
over their heads like a trophy. I left it
to you to do the bargaining, exchange
the money for us to save it, let it go;
fast, it disappered into deeper
water, returning to another present,
where the boulders cut the current to cast
safer shadows of motionlessness.
We were already forgotten, then, like most gods
after floods recede, after fevers break.
We did not talk about what we had bought --
an hour, an afternoon, a later death,
worth whatever we had to give for it.