Vox Populi

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Judith Vollmer: House Spiders

Streetlights out again I'm walking in the dark 
lugging groceries up the steps to the porch 
whose yellow bulb is about to go too, when a single  
familiar strand intersects my face, 
the filament slides across my glasses which seem suddenly 
perfectly clean, fresh, and my whole tired day slows down
           walking into such a giant thread 
is a surprise every time, 
though I never kill them, I carry them outside 
on plastic lids or open books, they live 
so plainly and eat the mosquitoes.
           Distant cousins 
to the scorpion, mine are pale & small, 
dark & discreet. More like the one 
who lived in the corner of the old farm kitchen 
under the ivy vase and behind the single 
candle-pot -- black with curved crotchety legs.
         Maya, weaver of illusions,      
         how is it we trust the web, the nest,      
         the roof over our heads, we trust the stars
         our guardians who gave us our alphabet?
         We trust the turtle's shell because
         it, too, says house and how can we read
         the footprints of birds on shoreline sand,
         & October twigs that fall to the ground      
         in patterns that match the shell & stars?

I feel less and less like 
a single self, more like a weaver, 
myself, spelling out 
formulae from what's given 
and from words.

From Reactor by Judith Vollmer. Copyright ©2004 by Judith Vollmer. Published by University of Wisconsin Press. 

Judith Vollmer’s books include The Water Books published by Autumn House Press.

One comment on “Judith Vollmer: House Spiders

  1. amysmallmckinney
    October 31, 2019

    Wow. Vollmer manages to subtly weave together the concrete and quotidian with huge concerns of being alive

    Liked by 1 person

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