Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Robert Okaji: Snails

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.


 

Copyright 2017 Robert Okaji

2 comments on “Robert Okaji: Snails

  1. Lynne Burnett
    October 20, 2017

    I’ll never eat escargot the same way again! Love this!

    Liked by 3 people

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2017 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , .
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