Spring 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 2 Fiction |

The Snail

The Kenyon Review · "The Snail" by Isabelle Burden When it rained, our Brooklyn neighborhood smelled like peat moss and wet pavement, and a hundred garden snails would flood the sidewalk. As a little girl I would rush to save them, drop my mother’s hand to peel them off the concrete, placing their translucent bodies back in the flower beds, where it seemed safe. Up close their shells seemed ineffective, soft and split like shale, or my fingernails that grew back fragile from my biting. It is dangerous for snails to be exposed: their circulatory systems are open — their whole body is a heart. My mother thought I was ridiculous; she was obsessed with punctuality, and my empathy impeded the completion of her plans: the grocery store, the public library. But I was small, my heart bled freely like a sprinkler — too much pain to be contained within one tiny thing — and the ones I couldn’t reach in time still haunted me blocks later: their shattered shells sprea

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Photo of Isabelle Burden

Isabelle Burden is a writer and translator born and raised in New York City. She is a Mississippi Review Prize finalist, and her fiction has appeared in the 2022 issue of that magazine as well as in American Short Fiction and Hanging Loose. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is fluent in German, a skill she utilizes in her work at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations. Burden is currently crafting her first novel.

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Pareidolia

By Kira Homsher

The Kenyon Review · "The Snail" by Isabelle Burden When it rained, our Brooklyn neighborhood smelled like peat moss and wet pavement, and a hundred garden snails would flood the […]

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