snails make the most disgusting sound
when they’re crunching underfoot

it’s a wet, fleshy crunch,
light on the crackle component

somewhat exotic and french,
in that regard

still, one wouldn’t want to walk
about in the grass
barefooted after it rains,
when there are scores of snails in the yard
many of them up by the house
right in front of the doors

camouflaged by darwin’s god
better it would be now
if they were day-glo orange

or carried harder shells
or less meat
or moved faster
or weren’t snails

(Originally published in Oxford Magazine, Vol. XVII, 2003. Copyright 2003, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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