Snail Bait

Was the death of a pet your first memento mori?

Or, if not a pet, some working beast you cherished?

Let me swell the dead dog corpus by one story.

My family’s dogs were cursed. One by one they perished,

run down by a redneck, backed over by mates,

put to sleep for nipping. Three heelers died of thirst

running circles on the gibber after taking dingo baits.

But the only one I saw dead was the first.

I am seven. I find her in the bean patch before school.

She chewed off teats to get at the biting thing within.

Died with spine kinked, teeth bared. Snails drool

their silver over black lips, silver her torn belly skin.

Silvered my cheeks when in Show and Tell I can’t show

my classmates how near the baits lie, or tell

if our mothers can save us. Even now I don’t know

how to get at it. My tongue just goes dry in its shell.

First published in Quadrant, Vol. 59 No. 5, June 2015
Image: F. Welter-Schultes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s