The Book of Snails – Natalie Solmer

I love the dead, heavy feeling after the panic attack when the world fuzzes over its edges and calm buzzes down as invisible blanket. Somehow


I am alive in this life, which is so surreal. As I’ve gotten older, I stopped worrying about losing my misfiring mind. Now I just watch it


in bewilderment. I told my students after bringing in my snails from my patio water garden and having them observe and write about


what those shell-wearing, viviparous animals make their minds think of, maybe I could bring the snails around with me everywhere


in little plastic bottles and they could quell me. Don’t I spend many hours watching them open their trap doors to release their feet


a flurry of labia-like tongues? They make clean tracks through my mucky water in the huge plastic pot—a womb of half- rotten lily-pads,


the hungry stripes of the ten cent gold fish flying through black water. Unthinking, relentless their tide—the snails rise during the full moon,


inching just below the dewy air on every stalk of my dwarf papyrus. And in the nights when the shock of moonlight makes it


past the glare of streetlights, city, and my mangy apartment’s mini-blinds, I dream the water and me in it. I dream me animal and one with them, again, again.

Natalie Solmer

Natalie Solmer

Natalie Solmer is Editor In Chief of The Indianapolis Review. Her work has recently appeared in North American Review, Rust + Moth, RipRap, and Juxtaprose. A list of her publications can be found at   She teaches English at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.

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