Saturday, 14 August 2010

Wolf Spider by Judith Skillman

It comes with the smell of water in the desert
of summer. August, and everything rust-colored.

It is only a myth told by the grown-ups to scare you
into eating a dish too rich for your flat stomach.

Then again, how quickly the arachnid disappears
beneath the siding of your childhood house.

As if it knew you meant some kind of harm. You’d set
an opaque vase over it while screaming curses.

You’d hide the over-done despotic fur legs.
Just the edge of this phobia makes the skin on your forearm crawl.

You would claw your scalp until it bled
to remove the demon that nests in your just-washed hair.

Judith Skillman, Washington, USA


Crafty Green Poet said...

Judith Skillman is the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently The Never (Dream Horse Press, 2010), a finalist for the FIELD/Oberlin Press Book Award. She is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and other organizations. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Seneca Review, and many other venues. Skillman holds an M.A. in English Literature from University of Maryland, and lives in Kennydale, Washington. Her book “The White Cypress” is forthcoming from Cervéna Barva Press, 2011. Please see

Anonymous said...

I love this poem which, to me, is about all phobias.

Owl Who Laughs said...

It's bizarre, our fear and misunderstanding of the animals around us, as we lord over them, dominate them, kill them, and use them as corporate logos.

Skillman brings out the tension nicely.