When befriending spiders first get
Comfortable with corpses for
Little flea cadavers, vampirized
Mosquitoes, husks of butterflies
With echoed airless wings litter.
Give permission to be poisoned
Because it’s just a bit—
Not ever noteworthy for
Each drip grants twin itches
On the ankle that feel so
Good to scratch at.
Slippery, sweet, poisonous,
Changing between movement and stillness
Too suddenly—birds mistaken for
Faeries with the same regularity
As the days that rent’s late.
Third become aware of being watched
And imitated in your roommate’s
Spinnings—don’t be afraid.
Behave gently with externalized egos
And the angry music that they
Play. Most spiders, you will
Come to know, emotionally are
Without anyone to idolize
Who doesn’t dress in black. They
Lack social graces and their
Boyfriends are unstable four-eyes,
Stoners, joiners, water-spout painters.
And when your itsy-bitsy friend’s
Frightened away by praying
Mantis compound, commitment
Making eyes, she’ll look at you
As you sit down beside her
Not asking what she should do.
Appreciate those guests you don’t
As best you can, when you can’t.
They’ll one day soon bring
Over stories to run and croon
While sucking at an exoskeleton.
They’ll blow down dandelion
Weeds to catch with organic nets
The wishes made by one another.
Their dreams are beads on wires
They don’t lie much for being liars.
Each summer, every afternoon as
You hold a cold one to your neck
Eight-legged critters who you don’t
Know will skitter in your sandals
Scorpion-ial and they’ll dance limbo.
Last, when you need to, take
Her egg sack to the
Catholic Church you used to
Work at and leave it bundled—
Have a Heavenly excuse—
Orphan Ollied in her silk
And on the holy stoop.
The nuns won’t notice it you
Know this, until her children
Start to hatch. Start to
Begin their infestation.
Each and every Empire begins by making friends.
Tomm McCarthy [he/him/his] is a graduate of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Poetics program at the University of Washington. He is a writer living in and writing about the Pacific Northwest and other legendary, mythical, and imaginary places.