At a crosswalk a tiny car
and a spidery creature leaps out
and flails you with hundreds of fists.
Horrified, I grapple the monster,
breaking at least four of its legs.
At last I stifle it—a brown
leather bag, deflated, a scrap
of runaway DNA. I kick
the panting carcass and it spits
a feeble venom stream.
You laugh despite your bruises, and explain
this was your husband before
he abandoned his legal practice
and devoted himself to Kafka,
eventually persuading himself
he’d metamorphosed into
a spider. Now with legs broken
he can’t function. His pinprick eyes
wobble in fur-lined sockets.
His mandibles creak like metal.
The cops arrive. They want to shoot
to end the creature’s suffering;
but you claim the spider part
is an illusion, that something
human still functions. You insist
that with therapy he can shed
those extra legs and resume
his former lawyer face. The cops
shrug and radio the ambulance.
As they tow away the tiny car
I drive you to the hospital
where surgeons try to re-attach
the broken segments of leg
that look like hickory logs.
I’m surprised by your tolerance
of such literary abuse,
stunned by your postmodern calm—
your bruises already healing
and your love of that arachnid
persistent as moonlight in fog.
Big Black Spider (Les Petits Pilous Remix) - Anglo Satellite
William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Another Ice Age (2007). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review and Natural Bridge.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Street art by Keely.
For more on Anglo Satellite please visit their MySpace site.