Orchard Orb-Weaver

Having strung one orb she felt compelled
to waltz concentric rings around it, ripple

the gap between broad leaf and blossom, weave
a curtain out of air. Backdrop done,

she rappelled on silk to a spot in the sun and posed
against the grid, a glint on a drape,

red-specked and yellow-flecked abdomen
making me recoil quickly.

Hourglass-marked or not, she had to be a widow
or recluse or poet or hacker

or some other dangerous loner—
or so I figured, forgetting that bright women

merit an internet search, not a panicked squashing.
I who spent hours humming at the sewing machine,

cutting circles of velveteen, pinning strips of piping,
tore my own karmic fabric when I leaned into the ginger plant

and clapped the pretty artist between two boards.
Only after did I check the web and learn her name

and the harmlessness of her venom. Now I’ve lost my thread;
the tension is wrong and the stitches bunch

and I question my craftsmanship. In public, I’m wary of glistening;
I won’t wear a bold print when I go out dancing.
Nimrod, Fall 2015