Beginning at my car’s left headlight,
a spider, pure white, newborn, so minute
it could be a dry snowflake if this
weren’t September, anchors a tiny thread
on chrome and sets out on the first run
of its life by climbing into space.

Meanwhile, above the garage another space
traveler is casting a heady light
on the door handle so that many dazzles run
together. And in just one minute
of shine, the spider aims its thread,
gossamer from the abdomen, at this

landfall. Its six or seven eyes do this.
And (wouldn’t you know?) the little space
I occupy suddenly has a thread
confining it — I’m doing some light
reading in the front seat: a not-so-minute
mechanic is trying to make the car run.

Now the spider’s paired feet turn and run
into air as if on all the earth this
compound were its to build other minute
compounds in. The spinnerets grasp space
like palpable meat. Another light
cable, silken, several-ply, now threads

its way upward. The spider is both thread
and needle — together they make a run-
ning stitch that shimmers in the moted light
all the way to the antenna, then claims this
height for a more intricate design. Space
fills. Sun fills the garage. In a minute

the complex orb will appear, the minute-
ly crafted center toward which every thread
bends. Will the mechanic rise from his space
under the hood, say that the car will run?
How can I open the door and not break this
order? And where will the spider light

when I drag its thread through a green light
going home this afternoon, the usual run
made in minutes? Where will it try new space?


© 1985 Joan Swift

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