A reponse to Richard Smaby’s Request

On Christmas morning, I again saw a spider that had taken up residence in our guest bathroom bathtub. I had given it several days to escape, but it apparently preferred living in our tub to crawling back down the drain to look for freedom. It was then I thought to myself, I’m going to write about this experience in a poem style that might be used by Billy Collins or Raymond Carver.

The Lesson of the Christmas Spider

It’s Christmas morning.
A large black spider is still
Trying to climb
The white walls of our bathtub.
He, or she, is right-side up.
It’s hard to tell,
As if I could tell at all,
The spider’s sex.
But that’s beside the point.
The point is, the spider
Has been living in our bathtub
For three days now.
I kept hoping he, or she,
Would crawl back down the drain
It came up through,
A sort of down-the-up-staircase
As it were, or is, actually.
So, feeling downright jolly today,
I thought it’s time
To set this creature free,
By offering him, or her,
A Christmas reprieve,
A “Pardon you for stealing
Into our home,” even if
It was just our bathtub.
I went to the kitchen,
Found a plastic holiday cup,
And on my way back
To the crime scene
I grabbed a Christmas card, too.
Then I leaned over the edge
Of the spider’s white world
And trapped him, or her,
Inside the red cup
That I covered at once
With the Christmas card.
I took our uninvited guest
Out back to our dormant garden.
“Here,” I said, as I slipped
The three wise men away
From the brim and poured
Him, or her, onto the dark dirt,
Backing away, self-contentedly.
It was then I saw
The spider flying after me,
Headed right for my head.
Was this a personal attack,
After my gift of kindness?
I wondered this
As I also wondered
How he, or she, a spider,
Could fly.
Was I to be wrapped in the web
Of some spidery, Holy Day miracle?
It was then that I noticed
The barely visible silver filament
Attached to the spider
And to the brim of the cup.
By now the spider had stopped
Flying and had dropped in an arc
On its filament trapeze
To the cold, rocky ground.
A quick tug on the side of the cup
And the filament was free,
And so was Mr. or Mrs. Spider.
He, or she, scuttled
Across the winter landscape
Until it climbed up the side of our sidewalk,
Pondered its new gray world momentarily,
Then lunged into a crack in the walk
And disappeared from view.
Everything happened so quickly.
I didn’t know what to think.
I walked back inside,
Put the red cup in the kitchen sink,
And returned the three wise men
To our stack of Christmas cards.
If there was a lesson in all this,
I fail to see it, yet.
But I hope the spider, he or she,
Has a better day of it
In his, or her, new world.
A better day of it
Than he, or she, would have had
If this weren’t Christmas Day.

–Ron Powers
December 25, 2016

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About powersron

I'm a member of the Tacoma Retired Men's Book Club.
This entry was posted in 2017 Selections, Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath. Bookmark the permalink.

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