The snail shell glows, amber at dusk, a small helix on the hot road— was it dropped here, this inert husk, forgotten by a passing toad? Silent, unmoving, a snail shell spirals inward, outward, a gyre tracing Nature’s secrets, the Braille of tornadoes, whirlpools, desire. The helix shows what we know as the whorl spins without motion: what is above, too, is below, the vortex an innate notion. It is a spiral galaxy, a paradox of space and form, of rise and fall, a fallacy of the exception, and the norm.
Entropy nibbles at the shell like a toad fond of gastropod, but no amount of life can quell the hunger of that endless god.
You! Do not presume yourself as safe
from the apex predator of the earth;
rather, feel it gnaw, you silly naif,
the beast who gnaws at you from before birth
and to the day you die, and yet more,
grinding you down to such dissolute dust
that dispenses far, from shore to shore
with our marvels: a legacy of rust.
It comes by land, by air, and by sea,
below, above, and from every side,
within, without, our very chemistry
and our physics, where particles collide
and then fling apart, our building blocks
crumbling with entropy’s ceaseless disease,
a widespread fourth-dimensional pox
inborn as the greatest of maladies.
It will build you up, and then tear you apart,
growing you like a farmer a prized pig,
and will show you love, then break your heart,
butchering you on a scale small and big.
For Time devours us with unseen jaws,
sure as a lion the hapless gazelle,
nor can we escape its savage laws
when fight-or-flight instincts will always fail.