top of page

Internal Compass


Sea Turtle

My daughter’s birth mom dons a tattoo of a sea turtle—

          a premonition her hatchings would return


                   the same way sea turtles do each year

                            to the exact beach their existence began.


                            Even scientists can’t explain that animal instinct—

                                        their internal compass tuned


                                                     so finely to their first breath

                                                              it’s as strong as gravity itself—


                                                              the pull of the moon and position of stars

                                                    guiding them back to that very first feeling of home.


                                       Nature hardwired a map as they struggle to survive,

                               tiny bodies tossed beneath a blanket of black waves.


                   Still, everyone wants to believe they have a choice

      to swim home or push forward—


      that if they really wanted, they could

wash upon a new shore, conceive a new line out.

Amber Watson is a poet, freelance writer, food blogger, and a foster/adoptive parent residing in Durham, NC with her husband, spunky teenager, and beloved rescue animals. Her poetry appears in 3Elements Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, and Seaborne Magazine, among others. Find her online at and on social media @awatsonwrites.

bottom of page