Ruth Brassington


Snail ears

I’m trying to think
of non-backboned animals
and all I see, spread-eagled,
pinned down, is hermaphrodite
earthworm and ditto snail
with its penis behind where
a right ear would be
if it had one. I hear the snickers
in that long-lost sixth-form lab,
girls agog over sexual creatures.

No-one dared tell us snails court
with hours and hours of entwined
frothy slime-making,
or that first of all comes
the violent skin-piercing
with a calcified dart shot forth
by a courting Cupid staking its claim.

Like Henry the Eighth they make
their choices, the rest just follows
like it or lump it
shelled or unshelled.



Ruth Brassington has been an intermittent poet for a very long time. She is a Wellington-based freelance editor/writer whose bits and pieces of published work include poetry, fiction and non-fiction for adults and children.