Newlywed mothers hear stories, how killing
a spider is bad luck. How daddy longlegs, mouthless,
conceals poison in its belly, maybe the death
of curious children. Grandmothers-to-be tell tales
about neglected doll-babies, chubby fingers spooning
husks of flies and cobwebs into their pretty mouths.
When I lived in Costa Rica, I saw a white spider’s fur bristle,
its abdomen no bigger than a baby girl’s thumbnail.
Onyx-eyed, fangs bared, the creature reared, forelegs
groping. The Wolf Spider spins no web
but stalks what’s curious or unwary in the grass.
The way lizards lie low. Snatch gnat, sandfly,
mosquito. The way stories tell us what we want
and do not want to know.
“The Animals Are Out”