By H.St.V.Beechey

I babysit in the soft warm sand.
She runs about on sturdy legs.
Perhaps she is sitting me—I do not run much any more.
She calls to me. “Great-grand-papa!”
Each consonant crisp as a race-caller.
“Great-grand-papa. Come quick! See? What is it?”
Creaking, I answer her urgency, to where she squats
Her attention pointing out the tiny creature.

Once, before I was great—before I was grand
I would have answered her. A lesson. A lecture
On the hermit crab.
But now I am wiser. “What do you see?”

“He is carrying his house.”
“And then? Tell me!”
“He is little, and he is frightened.”
“But he is brave. He has a bitey hand, and he clicks it.
“His eyes are little sparks.
“He is a baby monster but I am not afraid!
What is he?”

“Look long and remember little one,” I say.
“THAT is what he is!”


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