Ten Ways of Looking at a Spider
by Rosi Lalor
Like a can-can girl she sticks her best leg out
from underneath the red curtain
waits until all eyes are on her
fans out the other seven.
In a humid hamlet in the province of San Luis Potosi,
I sat in Citlali’s kitchen, watching her make tortillas.
From behind the corner of her stove a thick-set spider appeared,
lifted and stretched its legs one by one.
‘So I suppose that spider isn’t poisonous?’ I said.
‘That one?’ she said, barely glancing at it,
‘Oh yes, she is very poisonous’
and went back to making tortillas.
A tiny scarlet spider
on a newly varnished bench
on its way to touch a leaf
makes a fossil of itself.
I have noticed that my spider
- is free of compulsion
- acts in accordance with assessments
- is self-motivated and charged with initiative
- makes choices that further life goals
- lives in accord with deepest needs, values and wishes
- will address, process and resolve issues
- invents creative solutions in the moment
- has lively energy, with serenity.
John couldn’t find his torch
so he shone a lamp under the couch
under the bookshelf
hoping to god
I wouldn’t be on edge for the night.
Yesterday in the canteen
I was watching people’s mouths
and I thought of all the conversations
in all the rooms
in all the houses
in all the countries
in all the languages
in all historical periods
that have been interrupted
by someone noticing a spider.
While you were brushing your teeth
a short-legged spider crawled
out of the hole in your guitar
and you never knew anything about it.
took the cobwebs off your bike
thought I saw you on the bridge
you’ve just had an argument with your boyfriend
and now two spiders are floundering in the bathtub.
I have often saved myself
from bitter fantasies about my mother
by remembering that she picks spiders up gently
and puts them outside.
Even if she has to do it with her bare hands
even if they’re half dead
and even if it’s raining.