Wilted rooves and shops with names reserved
for placards on the floor. I think I’ve been to Edison
before, a place where placards look like
nametags, and names look grass green marker,
etching a name into something on the corner, by the
trashcan. It says:
“Zachy,” an elongated name placed
gingerly at the end of a
line. Here I am, queued up by
first name. ‘Z,’ white like noise.
I hate the feeling of a nametag on my new
We’re making snails out of bread,
beansprouts and spinach,
rolling them up into a shell,
poke your finger in it and fish around
for remnants of salt and sand.
Inside the bread, that is.
Bread lying open face on the lightly dented
plastic, white table, the one you
always see at bake sales. And next
to it the spinach and the sprouts. Spinach,
grass green if I can remember anything as green as
Edison, white sprouts have a smell of something—
“Zach! Your turn!” We’ve learned to roll
life into edible snails through three simple
steps: flatten the bread, line it with
spinach, and roll tightly. Attach sprouts
for antennae. Like rolling
sand into a castle, something etched into
the crease where the spinach stem
burst water into the bread, maybe a signature.
Starts with a curly ‘Z,’ and then
a promise, hold the bread close, pet
it gently if you’re into that. Each pore
is like a birthmark, yeast like dead
What would stop you from
plopping it right into your mouth?
The taste of the bean sprouts. You hate
bean sprouts. And also you know this
body like any body, better even so
because you created it.
“And now everyone, you get to
enjoy your lovely little healthy snail!
Eat up your vegetables for the day!”
Bite down deep enough to let the water
invade little blips in yeasty whole wheat
shells, water from the sprouts.
Spinach green with gleaming yellow shards of
stale, refracted light, careening down from abandoned
stores that somehow manage to keep their windows.
Edison, a leaf of spinach
wrapped in dough and something fleeting…
Something without a name,
like an edible snail you made in Kindergarten,
or a store with its sign lying all by itself
gently on the ground.