Wingspan

My home is filled with spiders
optical illusions masquerading as insects
small, dark things that seem bigger than they are.

The Vitruvian Man showed us
our wingspan unfolds our height
a secret origami of inches and
door frame scratches

but Da Vinci didn’t consider the spider
whose stretching arms are simply a trigger
panic in the chest, a leap to loveseat cushions,
the longer the legs, the bigger the scream,
whose body is almost a separate idea, an afterthought
to a cinema of limbs.

Last night I cooked for a friend,
told her of the arachnids sleuthing
beneath the bed frame, behind the fridge
in the quiet corners of the closet

she asked if I knew my value,
if the cosmos might not be filling my hearth
with mirrors
the under-appreciated
the overworked beast, mute chivalry
combatting roaches, pill bugs, silverfish

dodging rolled newspaper ‘thank you’s

she said I must be wary of ties, now
if my own web can carry this weight,
if the threads aren’t wearing thin
if I can even hear the people I’ve attached to
flicking the string, checking in.

This morning, one clung to the shower wall
I pushed the curtain back, swallowed the scream.
The water steamed the mirrors
till there was nothing but warm clouds, lost traction
and a sea of eyes between us.

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