GALAPAGOS TURTLESHe tracks her along the edges of the zoo's adobe walls, tucks his head inside each time he butts her shell; his shoveled underlip nearly spills her on her back as if his would-be bride were a rival he must tip to die by slices from the sun. She scuds through skid marks in the mud, slows where they've waltzed before, never wheels to confront him with her vicious beak and claws nor vanishes inside her shell to make him contemplate the turtle paradox of outside in. He feels their caravan veer downhill, hefts his bulk atop her crescent spine, powers his raspy shell along her sun-baked tiles. His flippers vainly clench her sides, churn toward her core as if through force of will he'd pin this rolling wave between his fins, clasp her steady for one last plunge to freedom in the sea. He plants his hind feet on the ground, flares his armadillo organ, finds the open envelope inside her undulating hull; then like an ancient shell-bound man, ecstatic eyes in a haggard skull, he shudders, gasping with each thrust. Wizened old Lothario, empathic concubine, obeying Darwin's last command to these doomed prisoners trapped a thousand miles from home.PET ROCKOnly the underestimated know the power of patience.Gaia chipped her from the core two billion years ago, thrust her toward the light; she steered to the planet's skin, reposed in silence for six-million swoops around a slightly straining sun. When a highway clattered by she knelt on the roadside, beamed to every passing being: You an engineer? Finally she received a Yes and signaled Take me home with you! The man paused til his brain decoded What a gorgeous stone, the very thing to tame those papers on my desk! Now she hunkers by his modem, seizes waves- solar, sound, magnetic- and stacks them in her cells of silicon and quartz. As do cousins round the globe, she stores megabytes of life, waits til human sounds fall silent and it’s time to sing her song.