SNAIL

The seasnail_sliding_down_a_leaf_600
that left you here
is gone.

Poking
only the air now
with your soft

minuscule feelers,
you have learned to survive
on the thinnest

of mists—
on a leaf glazed
with morning

or the moist
sea of evening air.
Thick-footed,

patient these
hundred million years
or so,

you still hold
your last watery breath
inside the deepest

spiral of your
ear-shaped shell,
sipping, one molecule

at a time
your microscopic drink
from the trough

of a clover leaf.
Yet with what gratefulness
you set out each dawn

past twig and pebble
headed for the great
wet rock in this meadow

or poised on a shining
grass blade
waiting and waiting

—yet never in a hurry—
for that sea
that abandoned you

to return. Ah
patient little brother,
at noon

when you sleep
in the last dampness left
under an old leaf

keeping your perishable
life safe
from that alien sun

is it the faint
echo of that vanished surf
your heartbeat follows?