The Three Spiders by Ian Smith


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I.
There was a spider,
striped like a tiger
at the library
where she hung, painted
with the devil's cross, the devil's arrow.

In the morning
after a rain
her web hung empty
and swayed.

II.
There was a spider
in my room, webless,
harried and alone.
Fleeing like mammal prey,
an unpoisonous creature.

He tried three times
a too-smooth wall,
and vanished through
a hole in the baseboard.

III.
There is a spider
at the end of time
hauling me in, I stand collected
and corrected by long arms
consumed and consuming

the master's knife,
a spider, a tiger the
the first and the last
of all the chastisers.