How Turtle Got Her Shell

by Jenny L. Davis 

Did you know 

Turtle 
didn’t always have 
a shell? 
She grew it 
to keep 
from being crushed 
fortifying 
her own body 
ribs 
vertebrae 
clavicle 
into carapace and plastron 
learning a whole 
new way to 
breath to 
walk to 
live 
to protect 
her from 
predators. 
She knew 
safety 
requires strength 
survival 
means fortifying 
softness 

© Jenny L. Davis. All rights reserved. 



Jenny L. Davis (Chickasaw) is a Two-Spirit/queer Indigenous writer and professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology. Her creative work has been featured in literary journals including the Santa Ana River Review; Transmotion; Anomaly; Broadsided; and as well as anthologies such as As/Us; Raven Chronicles; and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance

Author of Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance (The University of Arizona Press). uapress.arizona.edu/book/talking-indian

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