Every human being, while asleep, ingests an average of eight spiders per year.
If we’re going to swallow the line
about spiders, let’s have the whole truth.
Once they’ve abseiled through your trachea
they strike out into the labyrinth
of bowels and bronchi, your arteries
and all the little-known routes through you,
paying out a silken, sure way back,
each a tiny Theseus hunting
trophies – your retroviruses or
carcinogens, scoops of fat or tar,
particulates of your griefs, regrets
or grudges, your bad dreams, your night-sweats –
tucking each dead-headed threat under
one of their arms and then hauling out.
Before we wake they’re gone, disposing
safely of those little parts of us,
who-knows-where, extending our life-spans
by years we cannot count. Our blessings.
They’ve been said to bind a broken heart
with silk. You make what you will of that.
from Take This One to Bed
(Valley Press, October 2016)