Cave of Snails

Our writers’ group guru was poorly sick today so she stayed at home, along with her prompts from the BBC sound effects archives. Luckily she had let on yesterday that one of the clips was a recording of lots of snails crawling over the walls of a cave. So I spent a little bit of time working from that. This little oddity is where I got to.

There are things you do
as a child.
Unthinking, automatic things with
heartbreaking, shameful results
that will haunt you hollow, always.

When I need to forget
my own crimes,
I return to this
dank, hidden place.
Wait until I hear it again.

Sometimes it takes an age.
Sometimes even longer.
But it always comes,
Furred, impossible noise
of the snails, tracing my absolution.

That said, the worst atrocity I can remember from my childhood is the time I failed to give my little brother any sympathy or comfort after he belly-flopped off the highest diving board at our local swimming pool. I didn’t really have a clue how painful that would be. I still feel guilty about it.

A small stone for today:

As the fledgling mandolin player stands on the stage, the audience beat their wings. Offer final grubs. Invitations to fly.


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