Santa Tarantula

Now we praise her, her soft scopulae
for scaling glass, her silk spinnerets, always
reaching. There is shifting the egg sac often,
which a male arachnologist named brooding.
There is losing babies and calling this
our lives. There is singingsingingsinging, staring
into another mother’s face and saying it is still
the sun. Also, bittersweet sea smoke. Also,
burnt sugar hissing on the stove. There is scaphism:
death by milk and honey in a shallow dish.
There is shame surfacing like foam.
There is the most powerful species named johnnycashi,
and his hooks there to restrain our fangs during sex.
“If one crawls into my bed and I name it, will it be
nicer to me?” asks one man, as some of us cling
to trees, some to the soil sacristy. Praise
the tarantula woman still alive at forty. Praise her shifting
smalt of sky, her quiet stare, her morning face shriving
the sheets. This is how you kill a tarantula.
Cover her, and hope to God she suffocates.

From Santa Tarantula (University of Notre Dame Press, 2024) by Jordan Pérez. Copyright © 2024 by Jordan Pérez. Used with the permission of the publisher.