How convenient to carry a home on one’s back, I
think, disregarding heft and plumbing and the shape
of rooms too hollow to feel. Yesterday a box of African
chapbooks migrated to my doorstep, and I plucked
yellowing leaves from the tomato plant by the poetry
shack. Marine snails constitute the majority of snail
species, but we count first what we can see. Everything
turns–the days buzz by like male blackchins swooping
through their pendulum air-dance, and I tally my
diminishing hours from the safety of these walls.
Heliciculture is another word for snail farming, but
reminds me of stars spiraling wildly above my roof
each night, spewing poetic fire throughout the cosmos.
The neighbor mows her lawn and I observe the wind
stepping from treetop to treetop, another sign of the
earth’s continued rotation. Their slime permeates human
cosmetics to minimize premature skin aging, and was
once used medicinally to soothe coughs (I write this
as mucus slides down my throat, a response of the
lung’s filtration system to histamines). There is much
to consider about the intricacies of harvesting slime.
Most snail species consume plants, but a few are
predatory carnivores, which leads to questions
about their prey. Cooked in butter with garlic, served
with a dry white? I spear one, contemplate texture
and move on to the next, leaving behind no visible trail.


* * *

My poem “Snails” was published on Vox Populi  in October 2017. Many thanks to founder and editor Michael Simms for giving this poem a home.

7 thoughts on “Snails

  1. Fascinating creatures Robert … I come across snails often in my courtyard .. .

    Do Snails Go To The Ballet?

    Beyond our birthplace
    Life is not a race
    We all have our own pace
    Within our own carapace

    On my garden pathway
    A snail was towing his chalet
    I knelt there beside his showy beret
    To watch his powerfully moving display
    Of carrying his house everyday
    I inquired about his homely sleigh
    And asked, had they ever traveled to the ballet

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this while under tornado alert across 4 counties – afternoon sky blackening to confirm threat – drawn to your spiraling stars spewing poetic fire; gusts now suggest poetic vibrations too urgent to wait for tonight’s stars! As you say, we count first what we can see … but the unseen, uncountable nevertheless stir apprehension (or should I say anticipation? We need some rain.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love how you dissect what you are coming across as you go in the most illuminating and beautiful way. Carrying one’s house on your back. Such an incredibly ride with you. Great piece and congratulations on the publication.

    Liked by 1 person

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