augury doggerel

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Snail Hell

The woman and I walked over to a place we hadn't seen, hills and then a recovering dump, a wide flat crunchy space of unsettled earth full of discarded things broken into sharp fragments grinding together when you step. The grass has taken and was long and wet in the morning and was full of snails sucking to thick blades. Thousands of snails, clusters of a dozen, snails under almost every stride. We stepped lightly and tried not to crack their shells. We found black places where the grass had been set afire and burned back to the surface. Here the shells lay exposed, many more than we had seen in the thick grass, still holding their color but baked dry. In some places we almost could not put a foot down without a crack, and the place is as wide as a lake.

The kid, still at her grandmother's and not yet told about our snails, has reportedly adopted a single orphan snail in a jar for the night.


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