Two garden spiders named Arabella and Anita were used to study how orbiting
earth would impact spiders' ability to spin webs. Arabella spun a fairly symmetric
web even though the thread thickness varied — something that earthbound
spiders don't experience.
— Elizabeth Dohrer, "Laika the Dog & the First Animals in Space"
We will weave a web the size of the rose bush
all over the rose bush the way people throw their arms around
relatives in airports, as if they are trying to attach
a thousand thin silk threads—of love plus gravity plus where-have-you-
been-so-long?—to their feet and shuffly suitcases and knit-capped heads; we will
spin knit caps with tassels for everyone out of space dust and our own
exhausted bodies; we will not talk about what it felt like to spin up there
when we were also spinning. We will not say eight eyes full of darkness, or that long
unanchored pulling, like trying to unwrap moonlight from its tightwrapped
spool of moon, so it's no wonder it wavered from us like arcane geometry—thinning
and thickening like we were seeing it from dimensions different than we'd ever thought of.
We will say cucumber leaf! pumpkin with its unwinding, tethered coils; we will launch
from them, dirtily, earthily. We will not ask what the point was. We will
return like a radio transmission out of the desert, when the song
reattaches its filaments of breathy voice to music, and the rasping of the wind
is over; the rasping of space blanking past us. We will crawl
back to what we love, as if it is earth-mist ordinary, as if we are not dizzy
still, lank-legged. We will offer what we have always offered:
out of everything, most days, fairly symmetric. We will look
down down into the leafy wet of spring, or whatever this new season is.
Alexandra Teague is the author of three poetry collections — Or What We'll Call Desire (Persea 2019), The Wise and Foolish Builders, and Mortal Geography — and the novel The Principles Behind Flotation, and co-editor of Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence. She is a professor at the University of Idaho.