Procreation: While Chained To A Unix Mainframe, The Fatman
Ruminates Regarding His Mother And His Bicycle Commute To Work
—excerpt from "Love Poem"
I carry my spider wherever I go.
This morning, while sweating at my desk,
my breathing ragged after a hard ride,
I found her
crouched in my bike bag, slung
hunched and swollen among angular legs,
slouching along folders, lunch, and office clothes.
Startled when exposed to light,
she scuttled deeper into my books.
The wolf spider is a nocturnal hunter,
probing nooks and crannies for live prey,
ranging out from her lair to pounce
to transmute calories and proteins of insects
into a silk-swaddled egg mass. This particular
spider had stalked through the night
right into my bicycling paraphernalia,
the dark in my saddle bag just another dark
to be pierced by the elegant syringes of her chelae.
And she’d ridden with me, transplanted
from home. I carry my spider wherever I go.
What hunts from within remains hidden.
It was my mother who showed me
how a spider can throw web anywhere,
showed me how to search out the fluffy
egg-masses, how to trap
the biggest, blackest arachnids in tissue paper
and to grit my teeth when finger-pressure split
the abdominal exoskeleton.
My spider likes to lurk in corners.
I know she prefers the corner of my eye:
the egg mass she’s laid there gathers
a blindness, a shadow
from which will swarm hunger, stylused
amid architecture of leg, an articulated
shadow swollen with the same darkness
in which I once begged my mother
and in which I now bear the predator
whose venom curdles prey to dregs
as though by natural law. I carry
my spider wherever I go.
Peter Munro is a fisheries scientist who works in the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands, the Gulf of Alaska, and Seattle. (firstname.lastname@example.org)