The Paper Trail

A spider waits in the upper left corner of the doorframe, clinging to an unseasonably warm background. Opening the door draws the web inward and the spider shifts ever so slightly. For three days I am startled by her acorn abdomen at eye level. And on the fourth day, I tell her that Bob Dylan is coming to town and that I am making green beans and roasted chicken for dinner and that Beckett turns sixteen next week.

The wind is  now able to twirl dry leaves without effort and walking down the lane is noisy – I am noisy. The ecology of the collective has not been juked, perhaps some wallflower planting though. Seeping works that way.

Humidity fogs up my glasses as I wend a way through goldenrod and wild blackberry vines and tiny blue chalices I've never known the name of. I remember the day Father Don told the parish he was leaving. It was the late 80's and his hair was spiked and he wore jelly rubber bands around his wrist even during Mass. The youth was in love with this "DJ Priest" and we wept our goodbyes at communion that day. This, too, was my last day in the Catholic Church. Years later it was rumored that he left the priesthood under the mental duress of not being able to reconcile his vow of celibacy with the love he saw in the world. I was too young then to understand the portal of skin and eyes and soft passionate voices whispering holiness, and I am yet too young to grasp it still. But I know the thinning veil when I brush up against it.

One thing I have in common with my father is the love of yellow foolscap against the oaken table. His pad contained lists and notes about patients or football stats or various jobs he wanted to complete on his day off. Mine held the first feeble steps of poetry, barely gracing the page, like fawn steps or first kisses or curling cinnamon sassafras leaves finally landing in the holly bush. Angst and beauty came to life on those papers and surprised me. The proof of my pain and hatred for the way I was treated had a paper trail – yellow with blue lines and sometimes red ink and more often than not, puckered dried-up ponds where the tears hit.

The spider was gone today when I opened the door to let the dog out before dawn. No trace remained of her craft or her thoughts on the heat or any indication of impatience. 

the spider, the priest, the foolscap paper –
all framing the wind
in the wild