Today's poem is by John Kinsella

Canto of the Examination (24: Eighth Sphere)

The huntsman lies low
while magpies decussate
dead grass at sun set,

systematically feeding—
rapier beaks. Last night
I removed the huntsman, Tracy

promising empathy
if I could collect it, translate
outside, release to full glow

of the moon. She is not afraid
of black house spiders, or even
deadly redbacks. But the scurrying,

the speed, the hairiness
of huntsmen make her feel
queasy. I am happy to handle spiders.

Both she and I want them to live.
The huntsman scours the house—
protects us—but must remain

unseen. It asks questions
of me as I scoop it into a box,
its crab legs

working sideways
against the cardboard.
I take it outside. Huntsman

in moonlight. Ghostliness
is solidity in the nacre
hush of exposure. Vibrating.

It sizes me up as I let it out.
It doesn't run but moves
slightly, then freezes.

I see forward to the following
evening. The magpies
have finished their examinations,

and the huntsman moves towards
the gap under the front door
again. It is dark suddenly,

the moon not yet up,
though it carries reflections
in the grey of its body.

Said: I live longer than a season.
Heard: Time is knowing what we
can and can't cope with, what

we like, where we might go
as vagrants, signing warrants
          with an X.

Copyright © 2006 John Kinsella All rights reserved
from Harvard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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