Still life


Trapdoor spider (Gaius villosus) #16, c. 1974­–2016*


I remember the 70s.
My siblings and I,
borne of the earth
like a congregation of funghi.
Brown was in vogue;
I still love earth tones.

I set up local digs.
With my mushroom life
I’m not one for travel.
Meals arrived on foot –
I prefer home delivery.
Step this way!
Patience is a plump beetle.

An underworld figure,
kept queen, I waited and wove
like any good Penelope,
greeted my suitors
with finest silken door.

And lo, they came knocking!
I had good legs. Ha!
A few, I accommodated.
We’d wrestle, bodies
a knot of shoelaces.
Then I’d eat. That one – nice eyes,
hair in all the right places –
he tasted of crickets.

I keep his husk as an heirloom.


* Trapdoor spider #16 was found and monitored by renowned Australian arachnologist Barbara York Main. The female spider lived in North Bungulla Reserve near Tammin, Western Australia. Living to an estimated 43 years of age, it remains the oldest known spider in the world.

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