Why I Get Quiet When the Cops Come

by Shelley Whitaker

The slights feel small as spiders when spoken. Her fists
against the door turn soft as strands of silk & no matter
the glass she burst my window open with, for I’ve swept

each sharpness away. Even the fingers she slips inside me
while I sleep dissolve into dream when caught—
unwrap from my neck & leave no limb-shaped pinknesses.

Next time you glimpse a thumb-sized waltz of legs, grab
a broom & scream. Watch how quickly an arachnid skitters
out of vision, shrinks herself into the numb nest of memory.

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