Just as I’m about to take a freight train up my nose,
I stop with my head halfway to the rails:
a small spider is descending past my face.
I’m struck by the precise choreography of it,
her two pairs of forelegs moving in circles
like the arms of a swimmer, the next pair
sticking straight out like oars at the ready
& the hindmost pair paying out the line.
Not here, I say, giving it a nudge
to keep her off the tray’s smooth lake.
She reels herself in, heading for my finger.
I push the thread a little farther & she severs
her connection. Sorry, sister, I mutter
as she drops to the floor — a chaos of newspapers —
touching down without incident among the headlines.


Reprinted at reimagining place, where the editor’s critique helped me craft a thorough revision.