Eeksy-Peeksy

augury doggerel

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Snail, Great Tits

Today, May Day, national holiday, red-and-white flags flapping from neighboring balconies, no work, kid at her grandmother�s, me up reading since three. Then we had breakfast in bed with a hermaphrodite and eyed a pair of buttery tits.

I went to the store for bread and came back with a large snail I found along the way. It (snails are hermaphroditic) was a Helix aspersa, the sort reputedly gobbled by the French. It was about 5.5 cm (2.25 in) long and 3.5 cm (1.4 in) wide. The woman and I and the snail ate breakfast in bed together. People had grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with tea. The snail (on a glass plate so we could look underneath) had a slice of tomato, from which it chewed a cartoonlike chomp. We let it gnaw on our fingertips, too. I could feel the snail�s mouthparts (radula) working away on my skin, and, when I listened closely, I could hear it working its single giant foot on the moist plate. It watched with tiny black eyes on the tips of its upper tentacles. After breakfast, I put it back out with the remainder of the tomato.

Then I had tea and read near the window. Two Great Tits (Parus major) landed on the window box where we had put out a lump of old butter. One would fill its beak with butter, then hop over to the other. They would kiss, and the waiting one would get a beakful of butter.

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