The American Journal of Poetry
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Susan Terris

The Writing Spider


Don't be fooled. This is no ordinary orb-weaver. She's drunk.

Not on alcohol but on caffeine from trials at NASA.


Don't fall for this sylvan scene. She's in a lab with ivy and

under buzzing lights, has eaten flies with coffee-filled


bellies. She starts her night-web but then spews out

odd rick-racks of silk and forgets to anchor them. She forgets


an egg sac, too. Still, she spins and spins and swings from

leaf to leaf eyeing her own frantic beauty in glassy vials.


So, they give her sleeping-pill flies, and she calms, yet

then, unable to weave anything but a porous hammock,


she begins to practice penmanship--slowly, laboriously,

she writes: <h><e><l><p>. . . .




SUSAN TERRIS' most recent books are Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn Publishing,  Fall 2017), Memos (Omnidawn Publishing), and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press). She is the author of 6 books of poetry, 16 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, and one play.  Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, The American Journal of Poetry, Georgia Review, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers from Field appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. A poem from Memos was in Best American Poetry 2015. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and is a poetry editor of Pedestal Magazine.


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