Spider Relocation Project – Casualties to Date: 1

There was bound to be a casualty sooner or later. Spider relocation is risky business.

I didn’t mean to do it, but I wasn’t exactly looking out for the little guys as I caulked the room. I was just caulking along and ZOOP, accidentally caulked a spider into a crack. Egad!

Condolences to the wee beast’s family and a tribute – an oldie but a goodie from my chapbook Her Red Book.

Days After the Spider was Dead

She knew that time of year
when trees invent new colors and the sunset
from a pacific Northwest train is an
angelic hole in an otherwise clouded sky

She’d been waiting for some appropriate
memorial for the dead spider
Big-as-Your-Hand leg span tennis-shoed
into a basement carpet as 40-year-old
schoolboys revisit songs they’d written
long before the world had bitten them in two
sent them separate ways with a melancholy glance

She sat mesmerized by her lover’s fingers
and his “forgive me I’m out of practice” smile
until the spider incident
knocked against her head
the spider later to be
reincarnated as a
deaf child whose parents grow frustrated
after years of misunderstanding
a deaf child who will only hear music
in her nightmares
as long fingers reach through webs like
musical notes and catch her
by the hair

The reunion is over now the basement graveyard
lights out cold fall streets
smear pages of leaves wet with timely rain
her lover’s hand takes hers during
Ave Maria in church on a Sunday and she thinks
I didn’t even know that spider’s name…

6 Comments

  1. Patrice Lynne Young
    Aug 17, 2010

    This may go down as the longest comment ever posted… so forgive me – but fellow “spider empaths” are rare.

    This is called: a bit of debris

    I’m doing about 63 mph when I notice it, and I suspend my distance vision from its “defensive driving” sweep and refocus onto… what? A tiny movement had caught my eye… There. It’s not a bit of debris after all, but a tiny crab-shaped spider clinging desperately to the glass of my aerodynamic windshield. She is pale yellow-green and her body appears translucent as if she had been splattered there the night before. But she is very much alive, her little form being buffeted, her tiny abdomen moving in a minuscule jerky little hula dance as she struggles to hold fast. She (I automatically assume it’s a she) is so small she could fit inside the circle of a dime, even with all her eight legs outstretched as they are now. In this brief second of my notice, two legs lose purchase and she holds now with only five. At any moment, she may be gone, swept from the glass by pummeling molecules of air.

    Almost automatically, I let up on the gas to give her a chance to re-grip. I’ve six miles to go and she’ll never make it. I notice a couple of cars behind me, but I had been exceeding the limit by a few mph, so let ‘em suffer. At 55 mph we round a curve, the direction of wind shear changing abruptly and – unbelievably – she now holds on by only three legs. How can she possibly do this? What manner of strength and will and magic does she possess? Is this just an average spider? I think: this- this is a spider worth saving. With two of her tiny legs pinned to one side by the force of air – she reaches and paws, scrambling madly with the remaining three trying to re-establish her hold; I slow to 48 mph.

    The two cars behind me have become four; impatient vehicles driven by important people with no time for drama. She is slipping… she pivots and slides, but finds another hold. Still, I almost lose her just as I see a crossroad ahead and signal to turn off. Cars accelerate around me with attitude as I slow for the turn. Even before I come to a complete stop she is scuttling quickly toward the driver’s side window. I lose sight of her as I emerge from the van, but then I spot her, peering at me from the rubber gasket lining the door frame, her front legs raised in a warning gesture. After what she’s just endured, who can blame her? She makes a run for the edge of the hood and disappears under the rim, sheltered in the mechanism of the wiper blades.
    Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” is playing as I put my van in gear and we continue on our way.

  2. It may go down as the longest comment – but it will also go down as my favourite! Patrice, that’s brilliant on so many levels.

    Spiderman was always my favourite Superfriend as a kid. :-)

  3. Patrice Lynne Young
    Aug 17, 2010

    (blushing…) Thanks…

    Long live Charlotte and friends…

  4. Gemma@Greyscale
    Aug 17, 2010

    O what a read this has been! May I begin by saying I freak out about spiders! So my reading every word of this (post + comments) is quite something!

    Love the image of the “deaf child”. It seems to suggest preconceptions close our minds to appreciating alternative beauties!

    An almost mesmerising piece of writing!

    And then Patrice’s dramatic response zapped me out of my reverie and pushed me into another spider adventure! Just incredible!

  5. @Patrice – I once caused a traffic jam trying to avoid “woolly worms” in the road. I was driving about 15 in a 30 mph zone. lol. I wrote a poem about that too . . .

    @Gemma – I love your interpretation of the deaf child. I was literally thinking of the spiders’ reincarnation and how the child would fear music due to this incident . . . which goes along nicely with the ideas in your poem regarding memory!

  6. Kay Richardson
    Aug 19, 2010

    So sorry to hear of your loss.

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