Dock Spider from Issue 69/70
She’s hung her egg sac in the corner of
the tire bumper at the end of the dock.
By the time I tie up after a hard day’s
fishing, I see she’s down a leg already.
Who knows where it ended up? But she uses
the other seven, elaborate chopsticks,
to fork water strides skimming the lake’s
surface right under her web. She’s stretched
out so flat and black you can’t see her for
the tire at first, but oh how you gasp when
I pull you down on a knee to point her out!
I’m not about to pretend I’m not horror-struck
as well: she’d be a match for a baby octopus.
Chris, the dockhand, who knows these things,
says she’s on the way to dying, having done
her job, and will soon position herself so
her hatching babies won’t miss their first
meal, by which time she’ll be liquefying.
I mumble something about mother’s milk, but
you say she should be called the Jesus spider.
For days we force ourselves to follow nature’s
little drama, as the egg sac quivers, and she
barely moves an inch away, ignoring anything
her web traps. On out last night, gunning back
before a sudden storm, scrambling to secure
the boat, we almost forget to have a look,
when you pull me down beside you. At first,
there’s nothing to see, so we lean way over.
The tire’s corner pocket’s ablaze with scads
of tiny pearly white bodies, who’ve eaten well.
We don’t linger over dinner, our glasses going
quickly up to our mouths, and coming down empty.