Animals: “Because the Gut Says So” by Rae Hoffman Jager

Because the Gut Says So 

The mystery of where sea turtles go for their early years has been solved—turns out after 
hatching, they do not disappear into some seam in the ocean but instead hitch rides on rafts of 
seaweed until they are brave enough to swim through long stretches of abandoned sea, alone. 
Occasionally when my daughter is lost in her basement brain, I turn on a video of an adolescent 
sea turtle crossing a lonely blue black. Even in her infancy, my daughter understands the hero’s 
journey. Even if I say nothing, something in the girl says, find your Canary Islands. Something 
says, this house is not it. Says the bags were already packed in your DNA. Says, ride the raft if 
needed but the current moves you regardless. Says, it doesn’t matter where you are as long as 
you feel the sun warming you home.

About Rae Hoffman Jager

Author photo of Rae Hoffman Jager smiling at the camera with a brick wall behind her.

Rae Hoffman Jager is the author of One Throne (2017). Her book, American Bitch is forthcoming with Kelsay Press in 2022. Rae’s poetry has appeared most recently in Juke Joint and The Moth. She has work forthcoming in New York Quarterly. Her work has been described as rambunctious, urgent, funny, and elegiac. Rae holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and an MFA from Wichita State University. For more information, you can visit her website at