about the author

Adam Crittenden holds an MFA in poetry from New Mexico State University, where he was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. He also serves as an editor for Lingerpost and Puerto del Sol. His work has appeared or will appear in Whiskey Island, Bayou Magazine, Metazen, Barn Owl Review, Matter Press, and several other journals. Currently, he teaches writing in Albuquerque.

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The Boy Who Had a Sea-Snail Growing in His Knee

Adam Crittenden

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We expect him to miss
         a part of himself that is not himself
         and I expect myself to wish
         I had given birth to a snail,
but I don’t do it because I am selfish.

                  You tell me that that’s classic me—
          wanting the benefits but none of the costs
of letting a gastropod suckle in my blood
                             until my kneecap skin expands
                             and ruptures.

Maybe fifteen years from now the boy will remember
          what it was like to have a pet
                   growing inside of himself,
          depending on its host to be kind. Or maybe he

In fact, I see him now
                   riding a subway to his cubicle
                             where the internet forgets his story
                                      and the snail is long dead,
                                      its cells and molecules spread
          across the city like microscopic tableaus
for a scavenger hunt nobody cares about.

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