The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday

Brown Recluse
By Elizabeth Gold

Brown Recluse--(Loxoscelidae, order Araneida, Reclusa) a species of spider, originally
from Mexico, now common in the southern and western United States. Has a dark
violin-shaped design on its back. Is often found under stones or in dark corners inside
buildings. Its bite destroys the walls of the blood vessels near the site of the bite, some-
times causing a skin ulcer several inches in diameter. The wound, which may require
several months to heal, is occasionally fatal.

What do you want me to do? Apologize?
I didn't invite you in.
You’re the one who should say it:

When you live alone so long
you get your own way of doing things.
Want your splinter, knot, whorl
and root, arranged just so.
I hang my hammock in a corner
of the dining room. Feast alone.
Nights skunks cavort, possums
trail naked tails over the grass.
I bolt the door.
Play the fiddle on my back.
Old Mexican melodies, songs
I can hardly remember, plaints
of sugar and dust.
I go to bed.

You held out your hand.
What do you think you were asking for?
A Monarch, wrapped in his cloak
of sunset? A Ladybug,
in her mantilla of black spots?
I slide poison under your skin.
Teach you what it's like
to die a little.
You won’t forget me.
I give so much, for what?
If you don't want love,
don't touch me. Don't
touch me.


It's been a rather exciting evening, not in a good way. We had plans to go out to dinner with my father and had talked about California Pizza Kitchen in the mall, but we had all been there recently and though the kids wanted pizza (they always want pizza), we opted for Hamburger Hamlet. I had a wonderful big chicken caesar salad which I shared with younger son, who also had a hot dog, while everyone else had various burger sandwiches. On the way home there was a great deal of traffic passing the mall, with at least four fire trucks in front of Nordstrom and cars being directed away; we wondered whether there had been a fire. When we got home and watched the news, we learned that a woman had stabbed two people (apparently at random) in Nordstrom and there had been chaos in the mall. This is rather freaking me out, as I go to that mall quite often, usually with my kids.

Before that my day was relatively quiet, though something of a pain in the ass as I was trying to organize my younger son's bedroom, having concluded that he couldn't really be expected to clean it since he barely had room to walk through all the clutter and he will never willingly part with anything, not even McDonald's Happy Meal toys he got five years ago. I barely made a dent in the chaos. Then I had to write three articles, two of which were long ones on all the work Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart have been doing, for which trouble I got a bitchy note from one of the Save Enterprise leaders saying that in the interests of fairness I should also have covered Scott Bakula singing at his daughter's alma mater. I also got a staggering amount of hostile mail over the fact that in a recent article I spelled Chekhov "Chekov" (an honest error as my spell check has all the Star Trek characters in its custom dictionary, but not most major literary figures as I haven't written about most of them since grad school). I've been sort of fandom-apathetic all month, as I'm sure people have noticed, but right now I am in a "Trekkies are every bit as pathetic as their reputations" mood -- I have never witnessed the same level of hostility and immaturity in LOTR or even HP, where one might expect juvenile behavior, given that many of the fans are actually juveniles!

And it seems I am to be thwarted at every turn in my desire to see Cinderella Man ASAP, as there will be preview screenings all over the place this Sunday -- including my local multiplex -- but not at the theaters near my in-laws! Woe! Okay, this is a very small and petty frustration, but it does not make my day any better thinking about it. I think I shall turn in early again, as I have my usual early Thursday to face, the national political news continues to be unpleasant and I have nothing to say about the Lost or Alias finales even though I did watch the last five minutes of the latter (someone tell me if they think it's going to turn out that Michael is Sydney's brother, which is what my husband and I both yelled at the screen when we heard the final line -- "My name's not Michael Vaughn...and I'm your brother!" I am sure it's something else entirely but if it turns out that I missed a series with actual sibling incest, I am going to be bummed, as well as feeling like a pervert for it). Instead I watched "Charlie X" for my weekly retro review, which I enjoyed a lot despite the Janice Rand factor. But don't worry, I'm sure my mail will have ruined it for me by the weekend. See, I am cranky and awful and going to bed, and hoping the news will be better all around in the morning!

This is not a brown recluse, obviously; it's a praying mantis. My father was once bitten by a brown recluse in his garage and ended up in the hospital, so wonderful as I found that poem, I am more of a mantis fan. This feels like protection to me, and I am in the mood for protection.

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