Monday, November 9, 2009

Season of Snails

-for Oscar

I was telling Oscar the other day,
about the season of snails,
The way the spirals on the shells
which are so delicate, just keep swirling
and how I stop on my walk
to run a fingernail around the edge
and their little eyes on antenna
roll up at me.

And then I start to worry,
I worry that they will get stepped on,
that I will step on their delicate shells
with my big stomping boots
because I am not paying attention

or that they will be hidden under all
the dead leaves that litter the sidewalk
and I won’t see them
or that that a businessman
so intent on catching the bus to Manhattan
won’t take the time to avoid the snails

and they will be crushed as if they were never there, nevermore
and the thought brings me to tears, so that I have to stop at the wall,
and watch them exist in case on the way home, they are gone,

and then I realize,
I sound like a crazy person.
Poor Oscar. What madness I put people through.
I don’t even tell him about the missing organs
the ground teeth, just nubs of shattered white
the red pumping fist,
in it’s place there is just a picture of heart
torn from a medical text
onion skin thin, taped on. My lungs
fat wet fish are missing too. Just images taped up in place of the real thing.

My jaw, broken, knocked lose,
I have only a wrist and a hand
that melancholy holds
and she’s making me take her everywhere in the city
with her little white curls in her hair
and her grip is fierce and cold and
I can hear her silvery whisper in my ear all day.

This is my season, I suppose
and the snails will be gone in a few weeks
but I’ll still worry about them, like a crazy person
the way Oscar will still worry about me,
reading these notes from the other side of the ocean,
where it’s almost noon and time for a drink.

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