She had a parched heart, Araneus Illaudatus.

She had a name
              in her own tongue, wasn’t
a Roman Senator, wasn’t
              with a rocking-chair and corn-cob pipe―

              could true her name, she was 

              wholly alien―

A fanged knob, body 
              big as my thumb―

              to the first joint.


Poised for hours in her spun palace her
              deeply unreadable mind―

She drained the night-moths.

She’d disappear for a day or two,
              turn up bigger than before―

              until she split her seams, pulsed out
from her old skin, 
              flexing like a fist―



Did I not wed her, did I not worship―

              to her twilight appearance 

every evening in summer―
              When she dropped to head-level I crawled

              into the lit house―

Sat up
              just inside the door, adrenalined, 



Autumn came and the web sagged.

Winter came with its pit mouth
              and I stayed inside.

Now it’s spring and her egg’s hatched
              in the crook of the deck-chair―babies

              getting ready to balloon―

Soon they’ll hook the wind and 
              web up
in someone’s eaves, thimbles
              of blood and bite


              at the center of the weave―

They’d fanned out over the canvas seat, they had
              a penchant for spinning.

A drive for blood and a drive to be, which is
              everyone’s condition…

I took a thin box and made one side a shuttle. 
              Started to airlift 

              the orange tribe― 

but made an orange smear. And so I smeared them all,
              her children.

From Banana Palace (Copper Canyon, 2016) by Dana Levin. Copyright © 2016 by Dana Levin. Used with the permission of the poet.