Heaven for One

A Poem by Nicole Cosme

           My father has a pet snail, he named it One 
Because it has one antenna. When the antenna grows back, 
the name will be ironic.

           My father says, No his name will still be One.
He comes outside for a smoke, 
pulls the snail from its place beneath the stairs. 
It lives in an old take-out container filled 
with dirt, leaves, and shallots. 
Tiny holes perforate the lid,

           My father sits at a table with the container before him. 
It’s my pet, he beams beneath an umbrella, 
beneath his own perforated heaven.
but it’s only mirrors, 
it’s only a hole to catch your breath
He wraps his snail in laurels and honey,  
and my teeth turn to severed stingers, not fangs
Not really, just like a dagger is not a mirror, 
It’s only shattered glass. It’s only a million versions, 
and they’re all mocking each other, 

           My father knows Fibonacci and other snail facts, 
this is a land snail so it needs air, 
he points to the holes, takes a drag.
Look at that palace, watch that container fill,
Its occupant is indifferent to the hand until— watch. 

           My father tells me his snail had a mate but—
He shrugs, says he’ll find another mate for his snail.
To forget its lover’s fragile spiral
It’s only a shell, it’s only a moment
Only significant to some.

           My father puts One on the ground,
Watch your step, he says.

Nicole Cosme is an emerging writer/poet from New England. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Prime Number Magazine and Seisma Magazine. Most recently her work was recognized in the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Competitions. You can visit nicolemariecosme.com for ongoing updates and information regarding recent publications.

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