No slime precedes its silent arrival
only rumors of slime, hard enough
to pave a victim’s path.
Its vagabond bindle is slick
but dry, like shellac, and handsome
deep mustard with mahogany stripe.
It leeches, from my memory, lazy hitches
up to Maine, hoisting my own coiled pack
and battered cardboard lettered “North”
on one side, “Rockland” on the other.
It fields a foot
where the stomach should be, and ripples
the tacky callous, pulling itself over
the smooth pebbles like a tank. It lumbers
ass-backwards, up my coopered planter.
When eye to eye
it appears more cartoon than creature
looping its tentacles in opposite orbits.
Thinking this its female side, I look for a strap
or string in which to wedge a dollar
while she wiggles as slowly as Welk’s baton.
In France, it would be hauled off as cargo:
sixty to a pound, six to a serving.
In my garden, it finds its own way
walking the walk, pacing the pace.
© R. Jeffrey Roberts