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
themselves
inside a roof-
covered shell
called home
and so,
with my toe,
I nudged you
to the dirt
for your
inauspicious
but heartfelt
funeral,
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
strong
and wide
in the spring
waters of
of all you gave
(and didn’t take)
in the muddled
compost of
predator/prey
kindness/fate.

 

 

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