Every well-furnished house, like mine, ought to have a resident slug. I am not talking about a teenager, but a real gastropod. One could think of it as a pet, if that makes the idea appealing, although one can’t hope for much affection from that quarter. At least, I don’t get any from mine. In fact, I never lay eyes on her. (I don’t know why I think of it as a she; slugs are hermaphroditic.) Most mornings I find a mucus trail across the orange carpet under my desk. This mucus is a remarkable thing; besides using it to grease their tracks, as it were, rumor has it that some slugs are able to suspend themselves with it and have sex. I think they like to have sex wherever and, if you’re a hermaphrodite, it doubles your chances. My gastropod, however, seems a bit asocial. She likes her nighttime hikes. I can’t believe she’s foraging for food; after all, there’s a whole garden equidistant the other direction. I wonder if, driven by her addiction, she’s headed for the wastebasket where I toss old correspondence. She’s a glue sucker. Like all addictions, it has its baroque demands. For instance: this morning while sending out bills I came across an envelope singled out for sampling, some ruche-ing on the front while on the reverse the flap’s glue strip had been made into lace. Why that sequestered envelope? Was shame involved? I’m hoping envelopes aren’t a gateway drug, leading to signed first editions. She has at times already, perhaps in a more exalted mood, visited my library. So far she seems partial to the chapbooks written by my estimable friends. There must be something tender about what binds them together.
I am feeling a bit sentimental about the mucilaginous imp. It may be what Whitman celebrates as adhesive love.