Dear Banana Slug

How you mimic the yellow and brown
alder leaves cast on our driveway,
you, hermaphrodite, with eyestalks
poking the moist air.

Your crosswise pace carries
the metaphor of your length
from here to where you want to go,
six or more inches a minute

more surely than my jumping thoughts
that begin in the body
but land in disaster zones,
creating fancies of future loss—

myself shipwrecked in a wheelchair or worse.

While you, faithful to your job,
recycle leaves and detritus,
decomposing, composting
a softer music stretched across time.

Handless, you transit in a slow-swift crawl—
oarless barge.

While I head off for blood work, more tests,
you keep moving, everything working perfectly
in a nervous system simpler, less warlike
than mine, but adequate for all your needs.

This poem “Dear Banana Slug” originally appeared in Of Borders and Bioregions. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 218 (Autumn 2013): 85.

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