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.