Photo by Hersh Chauhan on Unsplash

All day we drove, eleven hours, to the crux
where my childhood, and yours, and theirs crossed—
a Sleep Inn bedded between horse farms
in the blue hills of Lexington.

In the car park, snails, zebra-striped and pearled,
scooched tiny glam ottomans across a gulch
that skidded to a creek it seemed we’d visited,

Each stretched its foot (also its neck) into flesh horns
that hauled it forward, through acres of thicket
in whose dense secrecy
more snails whorled dun to emerald.

Not antennae, but tentacles, the girls told me—
eyes straining, on mucousy stilts,
as far from their shells as they could reach. 
What do we have to teach them, love? They see.

Danielle Chapman is a poet and essayist. Her collection of poems, Delinquent Palaces, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2015. Her poems have appeared in the Atlantic and the New Yorker, and her essays can be found in the Oxford American and Poetry. She teaches literature and creative writing at Yale.

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Published in the March 2021 issue: View Contents
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