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Snails and Reliquaries
 by Alan Dixon
Fortune Press London 1965

The morning after rain and thunder we walked in the hotel garden lifting leaves of the big grasses letting water balls roll to the roots. Moisture had made the snails evacuate their shells blown their bodies out started them walking about under the dripping palms, the wet tables. On the hard grass-nailbed of the day before, we'd picked them up-the withdrawn white ones, some dry empty shells of eaten egg crushing between my fingers. You poked these headstalks with a stick the nearest we could get to touching them; enjoyed the way they rolled them up the way they blew them out again the arms of grey balloons that puffed tyhemselves; asked if they were eyes; saw the swaying back the well-made roof, remarked their lack of need for houses or hotels. But who could ever envy drouth of the last day's thin white shells or death and disappearance of the body in them? They make no reliquaries for themselves how saints would envy that! Think if any head is strong enough for six hundred years of stares. Hell is where men have tried to put her Caterina Benincasa, not death-the final relaxation, making the flesh die slower than it would, protracting misery more sinister than flagellation- the head behind a glass the body in another place.

Approaching Kinship by Mike Christensen I was surprised by a garden snailís breech from behind a loquat leaf reaching for something that was not there. Reaching for a sky it will never know retreating but only to reach out in another direction. Look Iíve found your progeny while I was repotting some loquat trees between the dirt and furnaced clay a cluster of translucent eggs so perfect in their shape and form youíve lived to sing another day. There in my root-less human haste I dislodged them from their earthy vine and scattered them like composted waste around this garden of mine. These tiny imps in torsion bound whorling around themselves, forming. These atomic pearls curled up in slumber contents of much, is hope. Iíll never see you breech from behind a loquat leaf something of which there is nothing and still I, regret it. Home