The Orb Weaver

R.J. Keeler

Blind prey-insect blunders into Araneida’s
sticky weblines. The orb weaver scuttles
out to sting and stun, then wrap in silk,
a late-night gift-snack.

The prey’s orb-path, a path of no-return, no followings-on.
Occasionally scuttling out for my own little followings-on,
whom do I meet coming in on the way back? Myself,
or a pettier self, or even a flock of iridescent starlings
en masse looping around, reversing course and flying
backwards to some simpler time—perhaps 1895—
to a strange contraption enwrapped by two crosswise,
double-orbed loops. Day and night flapping around
faster and faster until, at end, George, the English scientist
and his device, slow to alight in A.D. 802,701, to find
an invisible Oort Cloud surrounding Weena, us, and him;
Earth, asteroids, everything we love or hate, pray to, kill for.

Underneath all, an unseen, illusory ring of fire encircles
light-fearing Morlocks and Pacific Rim alike; constrains
the sundry lithospheric orbits of hot, young,
tectonic plates. Come over to the edge, take a look.

Well, there is no edge; no edge to navigate me through
my weaknesses, get me around my awkward sentimentalities.
What needs observing is my careless—in all minutiae—
vanishing point of true purpose.
Like that old-time projector—all gears, reels, clamps,
and pulleys—that streamed 1946’s The Catman of Paris
and scared the living hell out of a young boy who,
on the fly, had to learn to splice snapped celluloid loops
with a sharp bias cutter and bicycle glue. A sad dis-learning
orbit: courting, marriage, divorce, then courting
again—bloody circularities. Once I played coy;
now I concede: North Atlantic Deep Water will recycle
its dense, cold, salty northern seas down and across
to the warm Gulf Stream.  

Everything changes, everything is connected: a duo-dharma cycle.
Electrons, darning needles, period punctuation marks, moon
cycles, palindromes, weird topologies—as when a Poincaré
3-sphere turns inside out—what’s left over? Deep endlessness:
Klein bottles, Möibus strips, Escher stairways, buttocks,
my own stunned, conceited, backlands moulderings.