Skip to content →



The whales and fishes were left,

and fine, tasting the trees,

threading through high windows

over tables and beds. Except

they were chased and eaten,

they lived on, chasing and eating.


Other vultures than the pair, glossy

from the last gulls, paced

and screamed on the bulkheads,

and fell away, but more than two

sparrows splintered inside

and shot the dark length.


Clouds for light

as the water closed.

A box of glazed paper was fitted

for me in the highest hold, where the snakes

piled and pulsed, where the wildest birds were shelved.

Ground glass my sand and swallow.


Spiders, uncounted and everyplace, watched, chased,

and wrung in string whole species of unparceled insects.


Halcyon dove alight

over the deepened shores,

the seaming rivers,

my fellow, mate became.

Later, with Rome begun

and again unforgiven,

the sky open clear to the planets,

night after night disappeared.

from Inside Spiders

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Leslie Shinn Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.