TO MY ANIMAL
I was crawling, goggling
down at the leopard slugs, watching the moonlight
wobble on their skin. Their spots were
stains with no accident to point to.
I had the street lamp plastered on my back.
I was packing that light like a camel.
I was done doubting my victories.
But now in the sunshine I’m back
on these same squares of sidewalk,
this time the slugs gone. It’s true,
the sidewalk looks like sand now. Or like
a hurtful version of my face,
the cement split for an eye, and a mouth.
I am hoping no one sees me with my hands
dumped in my Levis and my shirtsleeves
trying to crawl off my wrists.
I want to see those little gastropods
as my own chubby fingers, each of them
moving one back-scrunch at a time.
They were not going back to some hand
or some country.
They were going to the streetlamp,
they were slipping towards the grass,
they were not fazed by the sturdiness of rocks,
they had antennas I’d forgotten, they had me
on my knees, huffing street, wanting back my animal.