August 12th, 2022
for Salman Rushdie
Tonight there’s no good news:
the Earth’s on fire; a writer has been butchered
for gifting us fiction twinkling with esprit;
détente between the West and East is ruptured;
the needy bear their hardship like a bruise.
Heating up but thinking most of me
I step out to the porch,
to where my beer reposes keeping cool,
glance up and snaggle abstraction in the thatch
of slack arachnid traps there billowing free,
a full-on Halloween, not cotton wool.
Need to get the duster out, I think
but instantly rue the thought
noticing the happy spiders slunk
amongst their webs, then empty skins they pull
eight fingers from like gloves, new gauntlets taut.
Interest piqued, I surf some videos
while taking my tipple, watch slimy legs unfurled,
but gorgeous too: renewal scenes we ought
to celebrate, the cast-off casement curled
and crispy like the spiked shell of a conker
we gardeners burn if we’re fastidious.
But maybe that’s the way all things grow stronger?
Maybe that’s the world.