At Moa Point that afternoon
two biologists were searching rockpools
for specimens. It was low tide.
I watched. They rolled away a stone,
fossicked in wet weed, described things
rather self-consciously to each other.
Then one of them put into my hands
a cold heavy jelly: my first sea-slug.
I peered gratefully down at it,
turned it over – did nothing, surely?
for them to laugh at. ‘See that?’
said the one with freckles (they were both quite young)
‘it doesn’t seem to worry her.’
‘Oh, well,’ said the other ‘these local kids…’
I kept my eyes down for a moment
in solemn, scientific study;
then said in my recently-acquired
almost local accent ‘Thank you.’
And firmly but gently (a vet with a kitten)
handed it back
– Fleur Adcock