Although I never saw her web on my shelf
of forgotten books like Anger and the Self,
I felt her broken silk on my hand, its skin
a bit sticky as I reached for a lurid spine.

She’s an asterisk buoyed up by the wind,
her new thread and the horizon a subtle cross.
She tunes her web for the song of a thousand
revived homophones and combined categories:

prey/pray, academic self-help, mate/mate,
therapist-philosopher. But she does not strum
her latest of silks that glint the color spectrum.
Rather, on this bridge that will originate

always from her synaptic body, she walks,
smelling bellish tones and sipping harmonics.




One Destroyer to Another

What’s there to do about you, tree snake?
You cause blackouts by climbing utility poles.
You devour birds and bite babies. Headache,
legless predator, I found your Achilles’ heel.
As we hover above you in a helicopter,
I want to warn you, one destroyer to another.
But I’m a prideful, personified you. These men,
accomplished scientists, took my suggestion,
lacing dead mice with acetaminophen
(a painkiller to us—to you, a painless killer).
Toxic mice under tiny parachutes will fall
and land by you on the tree branches.
That’s an easy dinner, which is what you’ll
become after eating it. The drop commences
(mouse bombs away) at my command
in ten, nine, eight… Both my arms extend.
A carcass—not me, the mouse—thrashes
violently in the helicopter’s downwash, while
pinched in my thumb and forefinger is
my own—I mean the mouse’s—wee pink tail.




A Sentence on Passion

the crabs are like minerals that fall from the train,
and grow legs, and crabwalk away, and knock
against the roadside barriers, or find the overpass,
and climb skyward, and cross above whizzing cars,
and descend on the other side, not remembering
that a little movement used to be work, because now
they fall in holes at the golf course beneath red flags
that they couldn’t see, or make it all the way
to the rockiest shores, where they may just make it
—their Jack-o’-lantern-shaped heads finally lit.




Nathanael Tagg holds an MFA from Rutgers, where he was a Truman Capote Literary Trust fellow and taught literature and creative writing. His poems and book reviews appear or are forthcoming in many journals—most recently Arts & Letters, Sonora Review, The Evansville Review, and The Journal. He’s an assistant professor at Cecil College.

Photograph of spider on web courtesy Shutterstock.

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