black widow

there’s a black widow in my shower window
for months I’ve greeted her with the name “mama”
even though she’s always the same size
always without eggs
there’s not enough world for her to grow strong
to become a mama
so she subsists on the cellar spiders
that dawdle by and slip down the wet walls
her small little graveyard
in the groove of the sill

my brain gets caught in shower webs
memory loops
infinite moments
my clenched jaw my unheard panic
why can’t I help her why should I help her
why is she broken why can’t she be okay

I don’t think I’ll ever stop fighting the urge to scream
to cry
to fight
to call and call
and call
and text
that you should call

so I set timers
and chant reminders
constantly holding a seat at the table
for my screaming crying
self
no one else wants to have her for dinner
but I can’t just leave her out in cold
we sit together
so she can cry into my shirt

I hold her hand
I take her phone
I tell her
“We aren’t going to call again”
I tell her
“He will always come home”
I tell her
to add 5 minutes to the timer

if my black widow doesn’t escape her sill
maybe it’s because she doesn’t need to
maybe she’s found somewhere safe and warm
and maybe that’s enough
maybe strength has nothing to do with it
maybe strength has everything do to with it

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