Today's poem is by R. T. Smith

Improvident Knowledge

Because I suffer from the human habit
of taking safety for granted, I am surprised
by the woodpile's October-cloistered spider
who has cottoned the slab of hickory bark's
underside to survive another hard winter,
and when I see the black bleb of her body
clearly and the hourglass red as a late stamen,
I know how much easier at a darker hour
I might have carried her inside the parlor
where a family fire would have kept her
active and given her ideas about provender,
and who knew whether I would have ever
seen her before she felt my breath's threat
and, by instinct less than malice, struck?
A grown man, of course, bitten on the wrist,
say, or an extended finger, is rarely if ever
in grave danger from the widow, but just
the same, I suddenly feel lucky, or at least
luckier than before, and opt to let her live
on her bark in the thinning brush where
I fling the creature and her shelter, telling
myself all along that such a glossy
denizen of shadow has less than nothing
to do with me and is easy to dismiss,
as I do all night between white sheets
as I writhe and pant and know and twist.

Copyright © 2002 R. T. Smith All rights reserved
from Meridian
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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