A weaver, this spider, she plays her eight thin
black legs and their needle-nail toes across
the threads faster, more precisely, than a harpist
at concert can pluck the strings in pizzicato.
Although blind at night, she nevertheless
fastens a thread to a branch of chokecherry
on one side of the path, links it to a limb
of shining sumac opposite, latches the scaffold
to ground stone and brace of rooted grasses.
And the structure takes dimension.
Skittering upside down across and around,
she hooks the hooks, knots the widening
spirals, the tightened radii, orbs and hubs,
bridges and bridgeheads. We can never hear
the music she makes as she plucks her silk
strings with all the toes and spurs and tarsal
tufts of her eight legs at once. She performs
the reading of her soul.
Oh, remember how vital her eyes, the eyes
of her gut, eyes of her touch gauging the tension,
her eyes of gravity and balance, of guile, steady
eyes of reckoning. Don’t miss the moment
when she drops, a quick grasp, catches, swings
forward again. An artiste.
She expands the sky, her completed grid
a gamble, a ploy played on the night. The silk
is still, translucent and aerial, hanging in a glint
of half-moon. The work is her heart strung
on its tethers, ravenous, abiding.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.