Glimmer of What She's In For

by KEVIN BOYLE

We’re naturalists on Sunday morning because the sun Has shone just so and lit up the orb web the spider spun With its zigzag signature, and there it is near the edge— Monstrous, yellow and black, not hidden by the hedge It hangs near, and my daughter, so unlike her, wraps her arms Around me and asks whether its teeth, venom can harm us? I haven’t a clue and so retreat to the bookshelves to find Argiope among the harmless ones—the writing spider who wends Her way—the male is dull, small—until the first frost Kills her, but not before she’s laid her sac of eggs Inside the web, and the male has died from having sex, His corpse sometimes eaten, sometimes not, by her. Just As I finish reading this aloud, I hear my daughter cry Almost inaudibly as she tugs some at her training bra.

KEVIN BOYLE’s book, A Home for Wayward Girls, won the New Issues Poetry contest and was published in 2005. His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Colorado Review, Cottonwood, Denver Quarterly, Greensboro Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Northwest Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East and Virginia Quarterly Review. The Lullaby of History won the Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Chapbook Prize and was published in 2002. Originally from Philadelphia, Kevin now lives in North Carolina and teaches at Elon University.