Snail: a poem by Martha Sprackland

8 August 2016 // Poetry

I caved him in with the heel of my shoe
not quickly enough.
Not the fair, conclusive smash of a foot’s full weight
but the realising what it was, too late,
and quickly lifting off –
this is worse. The job half-done,
the bad day let inside the secret room
through the terrible new skylight.

I know that I should have it done
and bring my foot down hard again
until the ruptured meat is inlaid
with a mosaic of pink and taupe –

I can’t. It moves
distraught, beyond repair.

Can I let it live like this, exposed,
stoven, trapped inside the looted church?
I know with absolute certainty
that it will follow me where I go, unquestioningly,
blindly, with such love
as the heart does
when the last thing to happen to it
is everything, is all it knows.

Martha Sprackland on Caught by the River

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