We used to milk snails
by the light of the dog-star
and salt their darkish trail,
hoping their ink would be a compass
we could travel by. Now they’re piled into vats
and we boil snails in the daylight near the dock
we skim the black that clots at the top,
the flesh that clings to the veins.
We will strain out the shells,
imbibe all the colour, pack up our purses
and travel away while the carcasses
crushed at the shoreside
bleach to sand.
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