by David Filer

Do snails run?
I saw one in a hurry once,
late coming down from the potted
dahlias, a fine, bright Spring
morning sun ticking across
the deck just behind it.

It was silent, and almost without
motion, but it looked like running
to me, although I had to sit down,
coffee and sports section in hand,
and be patient to see which
would win the race.

Of course, the headline news
that day was the trade of Isaiah
Rider to the Hawks for Steve Smith:
trouble for outside shooting, Smith
36 but still some good years, and no
quarrel with his off-the-court
behavior. A professional. Yes,
there was that to start the morning,
the kind of news that felt like
progress, winning, a new

meaning and future and plenty
of reason for a second cup
of coffee which then compelled
consideration of how one
might rebuild the fence along
the back property line, and in the
midst of all of that endeavor, there

was the wonder of that snail
coming down off the dahlia
just at the last moment
and sweating off to the cool shade
beneath the deck. A certain
molluscular joie de vivre. A slime-
trailing risk-taker for the good life.

And by then, yes, where was it?
Out of sight, the sun full across
the empty deck. A winner,
one of them, and, well, I was
somewhat late myself, but I
wouldn't look back either,
as I ran for the bus.

Do snails laugh? I heard one
laughing once.

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