“A Snail’s Shell Is Its Home” by Chloe Smith


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You carry your home on your back, alone,

Relish in the weight of it, the proximity –

It would take seconds for you to disappear.

Would anyone notice?

 

I carry my house in my hands,

Each etched curve on my palm a line

Of my address. I live wherever they rest.

 

I count the delicate swirls carved into you,

Marks of your permanent abode.

What’s it like to have it there? To know that is your home?

 

I reside wherever my family tree grows –

Wherever the roots are planted, this time.

 

You glide on it, careful,

The soil, some of which I’ve tasted,

Some of which still catches in my throat

Chokes up buried memories.

 

Time capsules of the two countries

I’ve toured, explored, lived in –

Never really defining either in my tiny mind.

 

You blink at me, wordlessly,

Your body glistens as you slowly turn away.

 

You don’t have time for this –

I watch you leave a trail,

A line of translucent breadcrumbs

A path to where you’ve been before.

 

Is that your home, then, too?

People don’t have maps to places they don’t care about.

 

You continue forward, slowly –

The sun polishing your dull shell, making it gleam

As you ignore me.

 

Maybe it is.

 

I feel her warm hand in mine, soft and dry.

The lines match up as she laughs at me for playing with the snails.

 

X marks the spot on our palms,

I might not know which country is mine,

But I carry my home in my hands. In ours.

 

It is wherever they are –

My family, who carry me in, clean me up,

Plant trails of kisses on my forehead, over my heart,

So I always know my way back home

When I go wondering.

 

 

 

Chloe Smith is a disabled and autistic writer and poet from the UK. She is a Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2015, and her poetry has been published in the ‘Great British Write Off: Whispering Words’ anthology and Rose Quartz Journal, with more forthcoming in Issue 6 of Cauldron Anthology. Her flash fiction has been published in Ellipsis Zine, TRAIN, Three Drops From a Cauldron and The Ginger Collect. For more about her writing, please visit her website: https://chloesmithwrites.wordpress.com/.

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