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Sam Bailey


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.

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Sam Bailey is a graduate student at the Harvard Divinity School. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Colorado Review, I-70 Review, and elsewhere.

Bear Review


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