House Spiders

Streetlights out again I'm walking in the dark
lugging groceries up the steps to the porch
whose yellow bulb is about to go too, when a single 
familiar strand intersects my face,
the filament slides across my glasses which seem suddenly
perfectly clean, fresh, and my whole tired day slows down
                   walking into such a giant thread
is a surprise every time,
though I never kill them, I carry them outside
on plastic lids or open books, they live
so plainly and eat the mosquitoes.
                Distant cousins
to the scorpion, mine are pale & small,
dark & discreet. More like the one
who lived in the corner of the old farm kitchen
under the ivy vase and behind the single
candle-pot--black with curved
crotchety legs.
     Maya, weaver of illusions,
     how is it we trust the web, the nest,
     the roof over our heads, we trust the stars
     our guardians who gave us our alphabet?
     We trust the turtle's shell because
     it, too, says house and how can we read
     the footprints of birds on shoreline sand,
     & October twigs that fall to the ground
     in patterns that match the shell & stars?
I feel less and less like
a single self, more like
a weaver, myself, spelling out
formulae from what's given
and from words.

From Reactor by Judith Vollmer. Copyright © 2004 by Judith Vollmer. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.