archives, poetry

So Beautiful, So Wretched & So Worth Every Beautiful Wretched Moment.

{Photo via Tumblr}

{Photo via Tumblr}

“Wilbur: Are you awake, Charlotte?

Charlotte: Yes.

Wilbur: What’s that?

Charlotte: This is my egg sac, my magnum opus, my great work, the finest thing I have ever made. Inside are my eggs, five hundred and fourteen of them. I counted them. I got started counting, so I kept on, just to keep my mind occupied. I guarantee it is strong. It’s made out of the toughest material I have.”

 

~ E.B.White, Charlotte’s Web

This started out in a different way, as a different story, but then I just couldn’t stop thinking about the spider in the kitchen window.

I wanted to write about this thing we do, we humans, this thing where we throw our lives wide open, and hang up our hearts on a softly fraying clothesline in the front yard, under the sun and in full view of the neighbors.

I wanted to whisper in your ear the way we love with an intensity that defies logic, that exists outside of time, that builds its own skyscrapers in a world constructed entirely of its own exuberance and absurdity, and how it is so beautiful, and so wretched, and so worth every beautiful, wretched moment.

Instead, I would stand at the sink, and I would watch her spinnerets throwing out thread after thread, and it was like watching grace going out on the hot mid-morning wind.

I was going to talk about how when you’re fifteen, or twenty-one, or sixty-four, you’ll meet a boy or a girl in some completely ordinary way, and there will be this instant jolt of recognition, an ignition in your soul, the thrill of deep down excitement that only comes about when you instinctively recognize a member of the tribe of your heart.

I was going to tell you that they might be a best friend, or they might be a lover, or they might be both or neither, but you’ll go home and you’ll look in the mirror while you’re brushing your teeth, and you’ll think to yourself, “Somehow, this person will change my life,” and they will, in a hundred small ways.

But instead, I would lean as far over the countertop as I could, and watch the solemn wrapping of a still-twitching June bug while the water glass I was filling ran over my hand, as cool as a cloud.

I thought I would write to you a story in three parts, because everything about you is so beautiful and so immense, so present and fully committed to each breath.

I thought I would tell you to tear out the pages of this tale and tuck them away in the spaces inside you that no one else is allowed to touch; to read it and then tattoo the words in invisible ink all over your body so when you turn out the lights, they glow bright in the dark night.

I thought about the way I wanted you to find comfort there, in the smudges and smears, but then I saw that she had spun out an egg sac, a tiny perfect peach, and it hung within the sanctuary of a dead leaf, the color of the desert floor under the descending sun, and I could not look away.

I imagined that I would unzip my chest and let my heart fall onto this paper. That in between beats, I would reach inside and gently pull on the loose strings, opening it up, and the stories that hurt too much to speak of would spill out and out and I would catch them in my cupped hands and throw them over my left shoulder.

I imagined the mess they would make, the way they would scatter across the floor, falling down into the cracks and crevices the broom can’t reach, rolling under the refrigerator, into the air vent, and while I was sweeping them up, I would tell you all about each one, like:

This, ah this, this is the time I fell in deep, stupid love with a boy who broke me in half because he thought I deserved better, and I did, but that definitely wasn’t the point when we were standing there under a bare bulb in his brother’s garage…

And this, oh yes, I remember this, this is the time I let myself be lured in by a boy with a mouthful of words that would melt me and mold me, and I stood tall in their image until the sun fell out of the sky and scorched every consonant and vowel that fell from his lips, flaming into ash before they ever hit the ground, and I always was far too inflammable…

And this, yes this, this is the time I threw myself onto the tracks of oncoming friendship, toeing the yellow safety line and then jumping straight up and over it, right into the path of a girl with so many sad stories, and I shouted every secret I ever had into the wind blowing wild around her, where they caught in her hair and tore at her clothes, and she couldn’t handle the way it weighed her down, all that emotion pressed into her palms, and she slipped out the window while I was sleeping, stealing my map and settling down somewhere I’d never find her…

One by one, all the dumb shit that sneaks in under your skin and settles in; all the silly shit you’re sure will break you if you bring it out into the light.

I imagined holding your face in my hands and telling you that by giving voice to that serpentine silence, the poison gets sucked out, spit out, and that’s when the real healing begins. but what I did was squint through old glass and a thousand gossamer threads and saw a second egg sac, nestled up next to the first, and I thought, well, there’s nothing stopping us from multiple magnum opuses, after all.

And that’s how the spider in the window changed everything I had to say.

 

*****

 

 

#SeeTheWeb

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