- Ode to Home
Snails are such a pick-me-up
and Darwin thought so alsothough he was "greatly perplexed"
by the existence of the Roman land snail:how could salt so readily kill creatures
that arise from oceanic ancestors?
In his room he submerged them in seawateruntil egg and snail survived these "long baths" —
surmising that the lowly Helix pomatiamust have been "transported to islands
by adhering to the feet of birds or to driftwood."My own devotion concerns
lugging around a home on one's shoulderswhich now seems less a burden
since it finally protects against one's origins [End Page 19]
Kimiko Hahn is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, City University of New York. Author of eight poetry collections, she finds her material from disparate sources — whether exhumation (The Artist's Daughter, Norton, 2002), classical Japanese texts (The Narrow Road to the Interior, Norton, 2006), or rarefied fields of science (Toxic Flora, Norton, 2010). She is also collaborating on translations of Japanese zuihitsu. Recent awards include a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2011 Asian American Writers Workshop Award.