He calls at work to say
he’s bringing a spider home. Not even
my favorite after-work drive
through darkened streets lit with living-
room lamps and red tail lights pulling
into driveways coaxes me this time to relax
and let the universe in. (Which is why we need
a tarantula, he had said before I disconnected.)
Now, still buttoned in my parka and laced
in my boots, I wrap my I’m-back hug
around his neck as he teeters on a stool
talking to Cookiegirl in his sleepy
voice. With tutu motion she hesitates,
then eases from his hand to climb about his chest.
Such delicate stallion steps. I try to pull away
when she regards me and my mittens.
Take them off and stroke her fur, he whispers
to my fear. See, he teases, how she laces
rosy ballet slippers halfway up each thigh? I bite
my lip and nibble on my list: sirens, wrecks, test results, giving
into trust. A car drives by. Cookiegirl shrinks. I slip
off a mitten and bare my skin. Invite
the world in.
by Sherry O’Keefe, first published in Making Good Use of August.
Editor’s Note: The funny title at first leads one to expect an amusing poem, but by they end of the first stanza one realizes that these lines have more to do than to simply make readers smile. By the last line, one realizes the possibilities inherent in inviting the world inside, and sometimes this begins with a pet spider.
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