Snail Woman

Ekphrastic Poetry

At dawn she picks
mottled spirals
from beneath the lush hostas
chewed overnight to green lace,
fishes them from the white saucer
of treacherous milk, watches
as the grey-tongue bodies glisten
then fizz to mucus
in the trail of cruel salt.
Later she boils the brindled husks
to remove the taste of gritty
garden earth, builds them
now sanitised and cleansed,
into a ziggurat,
then slithers inside. In its cool
interiors she grows small, soft,
viscous as putty,
curled in the hidden chambers
tries to understand
the sounds of the world outside.
In the quiet she whispers
into this silence of shells,
listening for an echo of her
own breath. She longs
to speak but already
her tongue is turning to slime

From Ghost Station
Published by saltpublishing 2004


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