Marjorie L. Manwaring

A   rach   nid

ójust hearing the word conjures
devils disguised
as quick-legged thick-bodied
tufts of spike and spindle.
  One summer tried to overcome the fear
in the field back of the house
let them crawl up
my bare arm
teeth clenched during the body-shiver tickle.
Stopped one afternoon
when granddaddy told me black widows
inhabit every state in the lower forty-eight.
  Donít like harming
beasties that dash out of corners
creepers trapped in my tub or running
circles round the kitchen-sink drain
and if theyíre smaller than my thumbnail
(legs included)
I can abide by the Buddha
scoop them live into a jar
spill them onto the front lawn.
Otherwise, I ask forgiveness
before tossing a heavy-soled shoe
whacking a rolled up magazine
or lowering the bottom-of-the-waste-can boom.
  After he left had a dream:
large open room
floor covered black
with tarantulas size of my palm and
I gather them like shells, no revulsion
no murderous eye
pick up each with one bare hand
drop into a mesh bag held by the other
their collective captive movement
a constant shifting, continuous imbalance.

Iíve gathered heavy bagfuls.
Iím leaving them at the door
leaving them at the door living and breathing.

Copyright 1999, Marjorie L. Manwaring

Marjorie L. Manwaring is a writer living in Seattle.  She has been studying poetry writing for the past two years through the University of Washington Extension Writers' Program.

Switched-on Gutenberg
Contents / Vol. 4, No. 1
Back / Forward