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Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer: When She Was Afraid She Wasn’t Good Enough

When fear scuttled through her thoughts

with its eight slender legs; when she recognized

the shiny black body, the bulbous abdomen;

when fear found all her corners and began 

to weave inside her mind a home of steel-strong silk; 

she did not try to befriend the fear. 

Nor did she try to squash it, 

though she had a sturdy book. 


Not that she wasn’t afraid. In fact, 

fear seemed reasonable, if she threatened the fear first.

Instead, as if she were her own sweet child,

she took herself by the hand

and walked right up to the web to explore—

noted the upper structural threads, 

the tangle threads in the middle, 

the vertical threads in the bottom designed to trap.


Every day she walked back to the web

and stared wide-eyed at the fear hanging upside down,

and then she’d leave and wander

in other rooms where there was low-angled light

the way Renoir might have painted it, 

or rooms of flowers, or rooms of song,

rooms of laughter, rooms of starlight, 

warm rooms with nothing in them at all. 


Eventually she could predict where the fear would be.

Could walk right to its brand new web. 


We couldn’t say she liked the fear there. 

We couldn’t say she didn’t miss it when it left. 


We could say she found a way not to feed it. 

We could say that while it lived in her,

she found a way to meet it. 

(c) 2023 Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s many books include Hush winner of the Halcyon Prize for a collection of poems about human ecology. She lives with her husband and daughter in Placerville, Colorado, on the banks of the wild and undammed San Miguel River.

17 comments on “Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer: When She Was Afraid She Wasn’t Good Enough

  1. Pam
    April 21, 2023

    Black welt decorates my back
    Thumb sized pressed into my ribs
    Fascinating angled body
    Arm lifted looking in the mirror
    Will this change me?
    Will I be part widow in my life?
    I have 8 slender legs to lift me and scurry scattering those I want to reach


  2. Lisa Zimmerman
    April 18, 2023

    Another brave poem, Rosemerry ❤️

    “Eventually she could predict where the fear would be.
    Could walk right to its brand new web.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 18, 2023

      Yes, the sustained conceit of the spider is very effective here, isn’t it?


      Liked by 2 people

    • Rosemerry
      April 18, 2023

      It’s a totally true poem, too–I used to go find all the black widow webs when we lived in Dominguez Canyon … Finn & I would visit them all and watch the egg sacs appear, see the babies emerge. I got to the point I could look at a desert wall in a new canyon and point to where the web would be, and walk up to it and there it was … facing fear, baby … with curiosity

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pam
        April 21, 2023

        Black widow
        Living in the kitchen window
        Web spun neatly
        For the sun to glide it’s shine
        Flying creatures
        Soon husks wrapped in silk
        She spoke to me everyday
        Showing me red hour glass

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    April 17, 2023

    Oh the wisdom in this poem! A song to what usually hides inside.


  4. laureanne2013
    April 17, 2023

    What a store,g poem and clear voice — and those two last lines ! Bravo, Rosemerry!

    Liked by 2 people

    • laureanne2013
      April 17, 2023

      Sorry for the terrible typo. I mean “strong” — not store,g! These are still 6am-barely-awake-fingers typing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rosemerry
      April 18, 2023

      Thank you, friend … what a relief to know meeting it is all that is asked of me. Not that I conquer it, not that I befriend it …


  5. Noelle Canin
    April 17, 2023

    As always, pure wisdom in this poem too, Rosemerry’s poems reflect a way of life, hard won and honest.

    Liked by 2 people

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