The Snail Scene
Mrs. Snail drags her gut over grass,
leaving a wake of slick bent stalks as she inches
toward the clearing where Mr. Snail lingers
to greet her. It takes forever
to arrive at the moment, and once there
they ripple in it, press
and press—more naked than naked,
glistening pink organs with calcite coils
slung on their backs. How
could those cups contain such extravagant
bodies? Waves of craving
pass through the seam where they're suctioned
close. Eyestalks curl and probe,
gazing with whatever awareness
snails gaze with—though to us
neither looks more butch than the other,
nor lovelier; we can't tell Mr. from Mrs.
because they both
are both. One's head leans into the other,
then tips back yielding—rapturous,
scandalous. How can any beast
touch so lushly? As if you were wholly tongue
and I was wholly tongue,
and the shells of our mouths hung to the side
as we shoved bud to bud.
As if we both could slide from under
our spiraling worlds,
pour skin to skin, and swim.
BY SCOTT BEAL
Scott Beal's poems have appeared recently in Poemeleon, The Collagist, and Union Station. He serves as a writer-in-the-schools for Dzanc Books in Ann Arbor and teaches in the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan, from which he earned his MFA in 1996. He co-authored Jangle the Threads with Rachel McKibbens and Aracelis Girmay (Red Beard Press, 2010) and Underneath: The Archaeological Approach to Creative Writing with Jeff Kass (Red Beard Press, 2011).