When I was ten, I was walking in the woods
and came upon a spiderweb the size of a door
and at the center of the tangling sheet of spirals,
this funneled orbs of silk, was a spider, a Goliath
birdeater-slash-huntsman hybrid with its thick
tarantula spiked legs.  I reached out for it, this
strange knowledge that I would be safe, even as
its eight eyes rested into my thumb.  I turned
the spider, and the door opened to reveal a world
on the other side made solely of crepe and eri
silk and mulberry and chiffon and Muga silk,
a world slick, shiny, entire houses bending
with wind.  I walked in and got entangled
in an elm tree, brushing it away from my face.
I kept bouncing, on the softest path I’d ever
walked on until I got to my own home, a home
now for caterpillars, how they lounged on my
old front porch that was now a new front porch,
so tiny and satiny.  I walked up to the front door,
its complication of webs, jumbled threads, and
gently pushed it open, slipping on the smooth
floor so that I fell, landed, harsh, on hardwood,
looking up to see my mother, hovering, telling
me that lunch was ready.  The door blew shut
before I could run back, see if I could find that
world again, but it would only come once, similar,
I suppose, to how I traveled to China fifteen years
later, returned to the U.S., and found myself
never having the time or money to go back, how
I started to wonder if China was real or dream,
or not even a dream, a place that had never
existed for anyone, even the people living there,
now, and when I look into the deep corners of
my closet and see barely visible spiders, I ask
them if I’ll ever be able to return and they are
so silent that I can hear the building moving,
how wind whispers secrets all of the time.

Ron Riekki

Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press).  Riekki co-edited Undocumented (Michigan State University Press) and The Many Lives of The Evil Dead (McFarland), and edited The Many Lives of It (McFarland), And Here (MSU Press), Here (MSU Press, Independent Publisher Book Award), and The Way North (Wayne State University Press, Michigan Notable Book). Right now, he’s listening to Sonic Youth’s “Incinerate.”

Contributions by Ron Riekki