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vol vii, issue 5 < ToC
Oh Spider, Sweet Spider
by Michelle Muenzler
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Half-ManAgainst the
Half-WolfTide
Oh Spider, Sweet Spider
by Michelle Muenzler
previous

Half-Man
Half-Wolf




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Against the
Tide
Oh Spider, Sweet Spider
by Michelle Muenzler
previous next

Half-ManAgainst the
Half-WolfTide
previous

Half-Man
Half-Wolf




next

Against the
Tide
Oh Spider, Sweet Spider
 by Michelle Muenzler
Oh Spider, Sweet Spider
 by Michelle Muenzler
she didn't know she was with
Spider
until Spider was born
a wet packet slipping
through the doctor's flinching grasp

so fragile      Spider      so small
the size of her (two) cupped hands
its delicate limbs flailing
twig-like in the cold

Spider made no cry, no wail, no
peep                            of misery
merely thrashed those long limbs
tearing the swaddling with a
swish-swish-swish
like a moth bursting from a cocoon

and when it (or was it a he? oh yes--he!)
reached for her
for her, his mother
across that fumbling gulf of nurses' hands thrusting
him to and fro, like some poisonous thing
she wept
and
straining against herself

reached back

*

Spider grew
not so fast as if he were not a spider
but fast enough for her

at three days, he toddled across
the carpet, stumbling while
beige yarn pulled at his leg tips
and at ten days he learned to clamber from the crib
when restless         and restless he was, so restless
and not until the thirtieth day
his spinnerets finally spitting out something more
than pale opalescent goo the
texture of warm rice pudding
did he cease his fidget
and fall asleep in
the cradle of silk he built
above her bed

silent           and still

and though other mothers called it odd
she slept the better for it
drawing comfort from the mass of him
bundled overhead
knowing that Spider was watching over her
just as she watched over
him

*

the terrible twos weren't so terrible

nor the threes

nor those fours, nor fives
nor any of the years that passed

Spider grew, gold and round like
polished agate
with spoon-silvered eyes
and tapered legs
such long, long, tapered legs
that spanned her length, head to toe

and when he embraced her, it was
with all eight of those long limbs
firmly set around her chest
tips pressing into her back as though to pierce her
heart

and pierce it, they did

every day

*

she was lucky to have such a child, she thought
over the many years
and even on her deathbed, she gleamed
with pride
staring at the silk cradle stuck firmly above
her hospital bed, untouched since the nurses' first attempt
Spider's long legs dangling from its cusp
his silver eyes beaming bright

and her only fear
as the end seeped in
quiet drip by quiet drip
was who, once she'd passed
yes                                 who
would watch her Spider now
as he'd always watched her
in that soon-to-be lonely

dark