A Song for Harvest Spiders
August – I’m by the river,
watching harvest spiders.
I squint, then focus, and I see one.
A second one comes, then a third!
They move down the ends
of rotting logs, follow long,
softening splinters. Crossing folds
of pearly fungus, they move.
Their legs – banded with white
gaiters (where crew socks could be)
convey that grand caplet,
the cephalothorax. Now one’s astride
the crinkly vertical fungus!
Skinny legs lift the feet high, step
clear of bark-bound centipedes;
and the caplets rise and dip,
rise and dip.
I call their motion silent. But really
it isn’t. My ears just aren’t
made to hear their footfalls.
Thump! They take inaudible
steps, palping for edible tidbits.
The ladies’ eggs scrape and settle
into humus. Back-to-school season,
Halloween… I’ll miss you
after the freeze. Companions – miss
means that when cold days come,
I’ll be here, but you’ll be gone.
About the Author: Sue Blaustein is the author of “In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector”. Her publication credits and bio can be found at www.sueblaustein.com. Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for ExFabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.
Image Credit: American spiders and their spinningwork. V.3, Academy of natural sciences of Philadelphia,1889-93. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library