Empty, a shell washes onto the shore.
One creature glimpses it, then a few more.

Each of the hermit crabs scrambles to see
whose fine new residence this shell will be.

They line up in order according to size
to see who deserves this most coveted prize.

Then all of the sudden it’s time for the swap
as each crab trades up for a roomier top.

Houses on backs they now scramble to hide,
the smallest shell left to be claimed by the tide.

Artwork by Casey Robin

Carolyn Leiloglou grew up playing with lizards instead of dolls. Now she and her four kids enjoy spotting urban wildlife … except for the rattlesnakes. She is the author of Noah Green: Junior Zookeeper and the Garage Sale Pet, and her stories and poems have been published in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, The School Magazine, and Clubhouse Jr. Today, Carolyn can be found in her natural habitat, blogging about children's books, at housefullofbookworms.com.

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