Andrea Witzke Slot, “The Slug”

“It is unlikely that our ancestors ever had to avoid packs of predatory slugs or snails.” — Graham Davey

Sitting damp
as a limp casarecce
lump, as heavy
as a drop of play-
dough, you are
never in a hurry,
rain-thirsty drop
of slime, plucked
as you are from
my lettuce leaves.
I never meant
to put you in danger
as I lowered you
to the rain-
slick sidewalk,
but how you pleaded
little more than
slow competence
as you set off
on your cool steady
slide, never once
bracing yourself
for the bang
of a wooden gate,
the gush of
rainy-day laughter,
much less
the murderous
thump of eight
muddy boots
as four children
dashed along
the path,
splashed toward
an open door
—where they
yelled safe!
and pulled
inside a roof-
covered shell
called home
and so,
with my toe,
I nudged you
to the dirt
for your
but heartfelt
lifted a little
sludge onto
your flat back
with my wet spade,
and then I sat
on the sidewalk
in that rain
and said a
small elegy
for you, some-
how knowing
my lettuces
would grow
and wide
in the spring
waters of
of all you gave
(and didn’t take)
in the muddled
compost of



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