One might think that snails are insignificant creatures, but snails have a prominent place in my life and the lives of my grown children. My children are from the Snail House, Hoonah, Alaska. They are Raven, T'akdeintaan. We are Snail Women. This poem honors my children's heritage and all the women from the Snail House, T'akdeintaan.

Snail Woman Creates Man

Snail Woman crawls along the log,
a grain of sand lodged in her whorled shell.

Snail House Rattle, at.oow (sacred item), in the Penn Museum
She feels the change, how it shifts
inside her, how it whirls through her passage.

From out of her, a clump of dirt emerges,
and over this she crawls her slick-foot

body, engorges it with slime as if her
own egg; then forms it into a small

creature she calls Man. Man is sticky
with her, so he goes down to the ocean

to rinse himself, but he cannot not rid
himself of the scent of her, her eye-stalks

peering into him, the weight of her
on top of him, how she shapes his every part,

Snail House, Hoonah, Alaska
and his feeling of being pressed inside her
narrow canal, the sense of losing himself;

and now he wanders the earth looking for
a way to return to the wet, slick place,

and circle again within her spiral.

*My poem previously appeared in YB issue 5 Animals


Clarissa Rizzal, Alaska Native Artist, Weaver
Lily Hudson, Alaska Native Artist, Storyteller & Weaver
Teri Rofkar, Alaskan Native Artist and Basket Weaver
Diane Benson, Artist, Writer & Activist


Article on the return of Snail House sacred objects.
Hoonah, Alaska: Largest Tlingit Village in Alaska


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