Elizabeth Spires reads
S n a i l
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I watch you traverse the long green table your trail slick & shiny then pluck you up & hold you wet & glistening in my open hand You are a dusky brown your mottled shell attached by a wrinkled skinlike mantle to the rest of you Touched your eyes on long tentacles retract & you have to shorter lower tentacles that feel the ground in front of you first one then the other up & down carefully they touch the ground Like someone feeling her way along a pitch-black-corridor with no way of knowing where she is going like me perhaps Your radula spiked & ragged black mouthhole tears up & chews chalk & lettuce that is all you need chalk & lettuce! For you there is no fight or flight startled you contract into your shell & wait for Danger to tire & walk away A slow-going-forward a staying-very-still that is you speechless creation that leaves me finally speechless Sometimes I cannot bear the world the beauty & perfection of a snail created by the same Creator who created me But we are different you are lowly & humble you have grace & compression whereas I am awkward & huge & not humble forgive me Do you see me? is the world seen from your wary waving eye stalks a perfect circle? you see ahead of & behind you a thing I cannot do do you too feel terror? I monster that I am bow down before you