- I was lounging on my cushions, doing my best walrus impression. Lying on my side, I flip over to shift my weight. suddenly at eye level is the jumping spider hanging from my ceiling(?) by a thread. It looks to be floating right before me. The visitor is about the size of a large grain of salt. I notice its bluish Grey coat, with a few tufts suggesting purple bands.
- Recently , I opened the garbage can that sits in my back yard. It has a tough green exterior and hasn’t been lifted from its spot in years. I know it’s full of rocks, which is exactly what I’m after. Big, craggy, and dusty-orange with brown stripes. lumpy versions of Jupiter viewed from orbit. The rocks are about the size of the carapace of an adult blue crab.
- I’m not entirely sure on what basis i know the garbage can is filled with rocks. I cannot remember seeing any rocks put into the can, nor having participated in any actions or discussions pertaining to its contents. I probably hadn’t actually opened , or even thought of , the can in years. Days go by without me ever even looking at it. I naturally ignore it. what kind of life is the can leading? Has it been emptied? Refilled? Maybe somebody drilled into it from underground, and replaced all the rocks with dynamite as a trap (what a jerk). Maybe the original rocks were actually well-camouflaged Arthropods who have since climbed out using their powerful hinged claws. Maybe the rocks just evaporated into vapor - who knows, I don’t know what rocks are capable of.
- I lift the lid and am greeted by the largest jumping spider I have ever seen.
- For all I know the garbage can was a mimic.
- Ambush predators , mimics can sit still for decades just waiting for prey. They outwardly resemble enticingly sealed containers: Chests, boxes, coffins - anything with a lid to conveniently conceal rows of teeth that slice right through fatty meat.
- I think we’re both a bit startled and freeze up . The first sign of movement is a shot of fluid shooting out of the spiders rear end. Not silk, just a gob of liquid that drops to the bottom of the can. Not sure if the spider shit itself in shock or just took a dump in my face with indifference. Im not really concerned about it, since I’ve never seen a jumping spider this large. It looks about the size of my thumbnail, with an iridescent ass. I’ve lifted the roof off of her bedroom, by the looks of it. I try to lower the lid as slowly as possible while channeling apologetic energy.
- I think of the eight beady eyes, seeing me, apparently. In high definition no less. Can it make out my eyes? follow my gaze? What part of me was it focusing on? Did it see features? what kind of features do spiders even notice when it observes another being? e.g. a hot mate, a yummy snack.
- I think of what the spider would've seen. Focused on something that’s lurching around where the roof used to be. The unexpected burst of sunlight putting it on edge , the vibrations of something enormous nearby.
- The word for spider is a homophone of the word for cloud. Im reminded of a story where a spider crawled down from the sky on a thread - the name of the story escapes me.
"The Spider's Thread"
(蜘蛛の糸, Kumo no Ito) is a 1918 short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, first published in the children's magazine Akai Tori.
- Maybe it’s because spiders seem to dangle down out of nowhere.
- I look up from the can, empty handed. The clouds look like puffs of soft woven silk. I think of the seemingly weightless structures supported effortlessly by even the youngest branches. Spider webs would float away if not for the powerful adhesive anchoring them.
- What happens to a spider web after you walk into it and shake it off of yourself? The threads don’t just disintegrate - I guess they slowly sink to the ground , or bob on wind currents until they get tangled in some branches. Does silk decompose ? Or does it just get caught in crevices and gunk it up like stray hairs in a shower? I wonder if any enterprising detritivores have worked out how to eat spider silk.
careful now
Cradled to the porch.
As I lower my hand,
deployed: Single Dangling Thread
careful now
Light wind Gale force
Afraid of flying up my flannel sleeve
Directed to an outdoor plant (Zamioculcas)
careful now
applications say storms
i move the plant out of exposure
remembering I last saw the spider within its branches
and
Their
Chop
Stick
Support
Born and Bound for
Gnashing, grinding teeth.
Somewhere, a pillbug prospers.
“I have worked out how to eat spider silk.”
It gloats
,Seemingly,
“new food source”
Fitter
Than those
who simply
Can't.
Poor lil
things