Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

photo by Marcel Herms (c)
1. The Dust Mite

I'm blind and mostly water. We smell one
another out, along with delicious
dander, dead skin and hair. Clamber on
and over each other in dank, darkness.

I cast my skin while growing. Float on air.
I had six legs until my other two
grew. Soon as I'm fully grown I need Her.
We sniff each other out, touch a way through.

Her eggs are sticky. Light alarms us, clump
and huddle together for safety.
Alarm over our nose tracks source of plump
sweet, huge crumbs. Leave small droppings constantly.

My world is what my senses touch and smell.
Maybe you can't see or feel me as well.

2. A Crab Spider (for Pearl Pirie)

I wait. In here I wait. For their arrival.
I have changed my colour to be unseen.
They want pollen. They land on a petal,
walk inside here towards the unforeseen

my open front legs that clasp shut around 
them. My fangs pierce their body, inject 
venom, suck out their juices. On the ground
their empty husks sweetness uncollected.

He's very careful when courting suspects
I may eat him. Smaller He sneaks, crawls on. 
Choose leaf tip, fold it over, a pocket 
for my babies, I guard till I pass on.

I imitated a flower one time.
Clung to tallness, ready to dine.

3. The Jumping Spider (for Angela Johnston and Z.D. Dicks)

I wave my front legs to attract her. She 
turns away. I pattern thump, buzz and scrape 
in line with my movements. She hears me 
through her legs, doesn't see what I create. 

I dance and sing to every female 
I meet. Need them to see me as mate 
meat. Most times I survive Her when I fail. 
Both of us need to raise our knees bright spot 

together. She walks away. I'm hungry. 
My legs hear live meat on my leaf. I glue 
a thread to leaf tip, leap stealthily 
on it, chew into suckable juice brew. 

Fed, I will dance and sing to another. 
Flee being food for those I discover. 

4. Oak Leaf Gall Mites (for Maria Mazzenga)

Expecting, I enter Her gall through small 
opening. My saliva paralyses 
Her young. I feed on them. My sons are all
first, fully grown. Wait as their sisters rise

out of me to mate with them then sons die
without feeding. Their pregnant sisters eat
Her remaining young. Soon daughters will fly
when they fall outside, bite into live meat.

They may find the hole from which a stalk grows, 
bite to numb the skin and feed on the juices.
They may land on those with wings and follow
feeding and breeding. Hosts have their uses.

We feed on lives much larger than ourselves.
to make many more of our small selves.

5.  A Golden Orb Weaver (for Andres Rojas and Sarah Connor)

There are times when I need to eat it all.
The shapes I make with the pattern, my silk.
As I repair broken threads, restore small
tensions, linkages to the one thread's ilk.

All five of Him wait at my pattern's edge.
Wait for that moment when I am ready
to make babies. I keep them on a ledge.
I will wrap my babies in a leaf. See

that they are safe away from Coming Cold
that will kill me. As I did they will float
wherever warm air takes them, make a bold
statement between Tallnesses, a bright note.

An invisible trap to meat, a new
shape. All their own, creation, as fresh view

6. The Tick (for Connie Bacchus)

Each large blood meal helps me grow. Warm air flow
I hatch from my egg. Hungry, climb Tall scrub,
back legs hold on close to an edge, I slow
wave my front legs in front of me. Heat rubs

past, I reach out, grab warm-blood thread bury
into it to find bare skin. My long gob
edged with spines and grooved channel hurries
my saliva into it, feeds blood globs

into me. My pair of long barbed rods hooked
at ends, puncture, and with each swim stroke
sink deeper into soft skin. Once full, unhook,
fall to undergrowth moult, morph. Wait next folk.

Might mate on this skin, then die. She will too
after giving birth to more of me and you.

7. Money Spider (for Susan Darlington)

l float above you, land, make a pattern
I hang beneath it, wait Meat Fall to snag
itself on my threads. for it to happen.
Meat was scarce where I was. Strong gust ragged

my legs, I spun out light threads, gust took us
all Up and Away. There I never ate,
until I landed here. He, courteous
plucks a message down my silk lines. Vibrates

a wish not to be eaten. I may grant.
How many of Him have I seen? I make
sounds with my mouth. My legs sense a distant
movement. Maybe Him. Ate Him by mistake.

I do enjoy His company sometimes.
I prefer my own, between my mealtimes

8. Harvest Mite (for Jane Cornwell)

As a youth I ate skin, might have been yours.
Out of our eggs each was born with only six
legs, massed we wait to swarm on, puncture, gorge,
through thin skin, dissolve inner skin, fix

ourselves over four light lines, fall into soil.
Feed on Tall juices, grow another pair
of legs. I feast on other's eggs. Want to spoil
Her, lead Her to stalked packet I placed there.

It is all me. She must decide whether
to take it. She taps it lightly, if accepts,
moves herself over it, and into her.
I stand apart, see what of me she's kept.

The inner skin of another gave me
youth. She lays bits of me under a tree. 

9. on Tarantula (for Mike Stone)

I am here because I have no choice. None.
In Cold Time I plug my burrow with rocks, 
soil, and silk , survive in stillness. Summon
stored fat reserves until warmth unplugs locks.
I hear Him stroke silk top of my burrow,
He taps his request, holds me above him.
I lay my eggs on a silk bed, cover
with silk, guard them till they hatch, leave 
this dim.
A change is coming. I am lethargic.
White seeps through my joints. I lay on my back.
I leave my old self behind. Renewed. Wick.
I step outside and am stabbed by Her tact.
Hauls me to Her burrow. Lays eggs on me.
Hatched, they eat me alive. They are hungry.

10. The Scorpion (for Dr. Sara Louise Wheeler)

Born soft. Stay on mam's back till get harder.
Uneaten, scarper. Rock crack is home. Wait.
Wait. Perfectly still. Comes nearer.
Meat comes close enough to touch. Sees too late.
Grabbed. My strong claws hold on, while my tail whips
down again, again, again. It's torpid.
I tear it into small pieces, to bits, 
spit strong juices , melt it, sup the liquid.
He's found me. I walk away. Grabs and twists
me. Places His pincer-like mouth on mine.
With His own opens my large claws, resists.
Pushes me back, I push Him back. He lines
me up with his packet. Scarpers. I bear
soft young ones in my precarious care.

11. Diving Bell Spider (for Gabrielle)

Down I spin a canopy between stems. 
I break surface, capture Bright air globe 
round my hairy abs, sink and release them 
under the canopy, my Home, abode. 

Creatures swim into my silk, kill with my bite. 
Enlarge my bubble Home, drag in dead Meat. 
My home shrinks so surface, again for Bright. 
He chases me out of my bubble, greets 

me, we caress each others legs, go back 
inside my Home where He chases me once 
more. Stays while I build a big white egg sac. 
It fills half my bubble. Guard my youmg ones. 

Born. they eat way out into worldlier 
Cold Time I dive deeper, build sturdier 

12. The Writing Spider (for David L O'Nan & Robin Wright)

Can you see shapes I make, away from gust?
This zigzag in the middle where I sit
Come Dark I eat every thread, Come Dusk
I will make it , put new zigzag in it.

He plucks my thread. Wants to make our babies.
Once he has done his job, he dies. I wrap
him in silk and will eat him Untidies
my immaculate web. I sup his sap.

Come Dark I lay my eggs on a silk sheet
cover them with another silk layer
then a protective brownish silk. Make sheet
into ball with upturned neck. Guard and care.

First Hard Cold I will die, my babies born
in next Warm, breeze uplifts their silk, their form.


Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

Imagist by Paul Brookes

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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