E Walker’s Deus ex Cochlia

Third prize in the the Annual Ambit Competition for Poetry 2021, judged by Kim Addonizio.

It started out innocently
enough: my cousin and I – in a garden
unkempt and full of promise –
making mud pies in clay pots
with soil and puddle water and worms,
decided on more exotic ingredients.

Took bricks to shells, to whorled
brittle shells. Grey mucus living yolks,
beating, squirming. Forgot about pies,
took bricks to snail, after snail, after snail
with pleasure, with abandon,
with unrelenting, unrivalled power.

Our mothers and their mother clocked
us through the window. Screamed us,
stopped us, came out and put the fear
of God in us. Through tears and terror
we learnt with genuine agony
of all our Father’s creatures great and small
of the horrific slimy hearts on our tiny
terracotta hands.

E Walker was the Ilkley Literature Festival 2018 Apprentice Poet in Residence, supporting Imtiaz Dharker, and completed a Poetry MFA at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2019. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as Independent Variable and The C Word: Poets supporting the fight against cancer, and magazines such as Magma, The North, In The Red and Ink, Sweat & Tears. He is currently based in Manchester.

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