Smashed on the road, all red pulp and green rind fractured. But no, the patchwork was of meat and turtle shell. A day of drizzle and downpour. Cars, bikes, and running shoes trampled snails and earthworms, breaking their shells as their insides oozed out onto the wet pavement. As I roamed the streets with my dogs in their raincoats, I walked around the bodies, snatching up the last of the unscathed snails and tossing them into the safe grass. The next day I helped my dad purge the vegetable garden, a jungle overrun by slugs and weeds. I flinched every time my dad found a snail. He crushed it between his thumb and forefinger, the snail's gooey body pierced by its own shell.
SUSI LOPERA is a contributor to Sagebrush XVII.
Cover Art: Letter Decorated with a Snail on a Leaf, Édouard Manet, 1880, Watercolor over gray wash (via the Getty’s Open Content Program).