Return to the Land of Spiders

For awhile we could live
where the air blew rumors
of trash barges up the Hudson
and helicopters pounded the dome.

We could watch the ferry boats weave
webs across the space
begun by water and finished with
ratios of styrofoam and steel.

There were no spiders there;
they couldn’t afford it.
There were barely bugs, but even so,
this was cockroach turf.
Except that one time, which only proved the rule.
The spider prowled like a tiny bear
on the marble floor near the loading dock,
a stowaway from Korea.
I crushed its life with my shoe
(no bodhisattva, I,)
saving the New Jersey ecosystem
from certain contamination.

They let me have that one, the spiders,
but they are waiting for me
in the corners of my new home,
in the closets.

They will raid my dreams from their sacs
where the ceiling meets the wall,
dying in my mouth:
a bolus of hair and leg and fang.
They will parachute into my cereal
while I am half awake,
twitch and spawn by the window screen.

They know what I am;
all of spider-dom knows it.
But I will run their gauntlet for the
sake of my children.

In the hedges, orb weavers vibrate in the wind, waiting.