Grey Garden Slug
Nathan Manley

Grey Garden Slug

Deroceras reticulatum

The bracing storm has ended like a life.
   A dissipated thing, slough of greyskin
hagging down the sky. Pallid, stalk-eyed souls
   have slithered, monstrous, up the rain-shod earth—
trails laid in viscid strings of filigree
   and whirligiging up the flagstones stacked
around your garden. Holes are opening.
   You can hear them, almost, in the squash patch:
the idle riddling of a broadleaved gourd,
   of all that’s green and good, mown anywhere
the slugs have slopped their snot-white forms, gnawing
   in the mirelight.
                             A penance paid, perhaps,
to One behind these shags of cloud. How vile
   He must be, this Raintender; even you
can’t stoop to palm the easy, lethal pinch
   of salt—for fear you should pollute your heart
with the shrivel of yet lowlier things.

Nathan Manley

is a poet, translator, and contracts attorney from Windsor, Colorado. He is the author of two chapbooks: Numina Loci (Mighty Rogue Press, 2018) and Ecology of the Afterlife (Split Rock Press, 2021). His recent poems and Latin translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review, Spillway, Image, Portland Review, The Classical Outlook, and other journals. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart prize.