Snails – Poem


Annie Dillard wrote
about them once, how they followed
a circular trail of slime
for weeks without changing
direction, their reluctance to alter
course almost killing them off,
the need of sustenance reaching the critical
before any would deviate,
even the slightest, to survive.
I know how that feels — a process
ancestral, intestinal, ingrained;
fleshy and dense as a slow organ
producing its juices, leaving a scrawl
across my front porch thick
and tremulous as an old widow’s signature
on a bad check, or a trail of relatives
honing in for Christmas dinner.