All the flashlight-dimpled chins cannot erase
the wolf spider naked in its shattered vortex.
Limp-wristed lollygagger darning the sock
of its next meal, it could be mistaken for a mistress,
recluse, widow. The Don Knotts of the world:
who are they but faces withered on the totem
of a Friday night party in any empty warehouse
hearseless and heavy on the hillside? For a ghost
is nothing if not a simple coat. Try it on. Wuss:
implicit in the deed the name, wuss,
backward, almost Chinese.
Take my Taiwanese friend,
who wouldn’t eat the last buffet mussel, vulcanized
by then, told me instead how to say I’m
Each small misogyny swells in the throat,
drifts over lumpy custard in the worst dinner party.
I offer instead a small history of departed things:
tea-tired pinky, rat tail, sullen wallpaper, and your mother
pining after William Morris (who in some circles
might be called a wuss), the ‘68 Camaro you were
too afraid to gun through the empty intersection,
the tiny matrix of your life then come to tethers,
the shabby tabby clawing spiders above yellowing
Proust paperbacks. And the spiders, without worry,
quietly going about their business of being murdered,
and who’s to say they didn’t ask for it?