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.