“A Move More Permanent,” “Main Character” and “Snail”

In Issue 60 by Kira Rosemarie

A Move More Permanent

Invisible in the everyday view of my myopic mind,

The breezes blow palm fronds into

Paintbrush-stiff attention on the edges of I-95.

So rarely now do I look up

And see the lemon twist of sunlight in the trees

That I’m shocked my eyes still recognize color.

We used to see every sign

Of the tropics as we drove up and down the highway

On the way to work in a climate of permanent vacation.

I wanted to leave so badly.

Every drop of sweat,

Every warm-skinned, after-sun red shoulder,

Every cold look from an unaffected passerby,

It all made me forget the palms.

I forgot them all at once,

A hurricane washing away all feelings

Of gratitude for this section of earth.

It was in the cards to abandon it

Altogether. A swift exit from a heated

Fever dream of a place.

A place I’d convinced myself

I didn’t belong to, a canal I became trapped in

With walls too high to climb.

It didn’t embrace me like I needed embraced.

The grass cut when it should have kissed,

The water bared teeth when it should have borne comfort,

The terrain lay flat when it should have rolled skyward.

This was no ancestral homeland for me.

But nowhere was, really, and now

I have to stay, circumstances forcing me

To embrace new gods to worship.

Seeing the loam like I saw red clay,

Seeing the bromeliads like I saw birches,

Seeing the ocean like I saw the Ohio.

Let me pray

At the cemetery of the Everglades,

I, myself, an invasive species,

Salt water⁠—

Like blood in my rituals.

Main Character

The lakeshore is empty

Like your breath,

Caged lungs pinched

By the fresh bite of cold.

No signal, no perception,

The only gaze internal,

And still you wonder

How you look in this light.

Your only rouge comes from

Chilly chapped cheeks,

Your lashes are only lifted

By the curling clear air.

You become aware

of the clothes against your skin,

The nakedness underneath.

Before your gaze wanders

Too far from the ground,

Too far into the sky,

Too far from your flesh,

The sensual scratch of your sweater

Tugs you down to the Earth,

Sending a wave from your head

To your feet, suddenly aware

Of the reality of yourself, alone.

No longer a mirror to the world,

You become your world.

Snail

A snail so high on the wall

So easily could I pluck it

And cast it down at the start, the edge

Where wall meets sidewalk meets grime.

How long did it have to scale?

Hours? Days?

What percentage of its life has been spent chasing

Higher ground

Where lichen may not even grow?

I chastise myself for ever considering

Quashing its ascent with the gentle grip

of my giant fingers.

The same giant fingers that, when smaller,

Gripped hundreds of snail shells tightly,

Gently placing them in a plastic cage

Meant for butterflies

And watching their short climb

Toward the sun

Until the half-moon of the cage eased

Them back downward,

Toward the twigs and leaves I had provided.

From this memory comes another,

This time I dream of snails.

Quickly, their giant single-feet pace toward me,

Suck onto my skin, crawling ever closer

To my face, my mouth forming a half-moon scream.

I turn away from the snail on the wall

And I pluck

Nothing from its place.

About the Author

Kira Rosemarie

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Kira Rosemarie is a writer and artist from Kentucky currently living in South Florida. She writes short fiction and poetry and has been published on Sad Girls Club Literary Blog, The Dillydoun Review, and Cathexis Northwest Press. You can find her on Instagram as @busy_witch.