Stay Humble by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez
What is the secret of longevity?
The survivors of the dinosaur-killing asteroid strike offer clues. Animals that were little or burrowed or lingered in deep water survived the global inferno of impact and the ensuing years of arctic night. The sand-sized tardigrade and tunneling squirrelly creatures reigned. The mushroom’s vast underground root masses rendered it nearly immortal, allowing them to live for millennia. A deliberate lifestyle may help as well. Greenland sharks are the slowest sharks in the world, but never stop growing, and live for half a century.
Do slugs live forever?
My search engine suggested asking instead: “do slugs have opposable thumbs.” Nobody cares about the lifespans of naked snails. Those unsung knights without armor. Nevertheless, perhaps one day while digging in your garden you will discover slugs with long white beards, philosophizing. You murmur: small, slow, and deep is the way. The slugs give you the thumbs up. This sparks an epiphany that flashy beasts don’t take the prize all the time. That there’s no tragedy in being overlooked when you consider the humble slugs in their fungal root forest, winning the long game.
Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s first book, The Way of All Flux (New Rivers Press, 2012) won the New Rivers Press MVP Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, A Glimpse of Birds over O’odham Land, was published by Rinky Dink Press in 2021. Originally from Hawaii, she now lives in Tempe, Arizona. Twitter: @SuzukiMartinez