When pulled, the spider web took another form.
The bull’s-eye relaxed, the bull unseen but felt,
skull on muscle paused on the forest floor.
The girl said oh, as she had heard her mother
say before. The spider had already hidden
in the labyrinth of a tree. The city ran
on coal and gasoline as it breathed, impatient
in the heat it generated in its need. The bull
kept one hoof in the woods, one on the road,
and didn’t blink. The girl, gone backward
from his eye, wiped the silver of his face
off of her own, aware now of its size, one eye
as large as her face. Even after she’d walked on,
she still sensed threads across her skin.
The Monster, What Some Thought a Man
or bear, came from the swamp,
what had once been a lake from a glacier,
then the meandering bed of a river, softer
than any bed a man had ever made.
The river had been dammed,
slowing, filling to prevent a drought
in a place where clay prevents rain
from becoming groundwater.
Instead the water runs away.
The mine had been closed in strike,
and the water seeped in
the ceiling of slate.
In time, they mined again, even under the lake.
A child ran in his house to say
the white ghost was in the yard,
and no one believed him until the neighbors
saw it, too. The stories started this way
on the edge of the orchards,
acres of apples:
summer, seven feet tall,
heavy in white fur and mud,
what our mothers said you could smell
before you saw it, or sometimes only
could smell, never see,
but you would know it was near. How it screamed.
How it didn’t seem to care.