Don’t Worry, Spiders, I Keep House Casually—

–Issa, translated by Robert Haas

Will I never be finished with looking before I touch
  and holding every pants leg suspect,
    with typing Issa’s poem on an index card—

Don’t worry, spiders, I keep house casually—
  then Scotch taping it near Brown Recluse Central,
    hoping to fool them? They stayed. The multiplied,

and the bug man freaked out, so prolific in my attic
  were their fiddle backs and dust bunny webs.
    I followed suit, abandoning unmarked boxes

and karate gear galore when stuffing the U-Haul
  for a move back home, a thousand odes in mind
    banished by the prospect of a single stowaway.

What did I know, what could I do
  but evacuate and spread the fear? At first word

and drag raced it over oyster shells, gone before their faces
  came to in Polaroid. My father—a loose tooth
    used to spook him—was the only one to help unpack,

working for lunch on a Thursday in the Year
of the Dragon, an ordinary Thursday that turned out
to be day one of his last year on earth. They say

a proper goodbye should last until the traveler
  is out of sight, and I still see him waving
    from the dock as shrimp boats idle past.


Alsion Pelegrin
from her book Big Muddy River of Stars
University of Akron Press, 2007

reprinted with permission of the poet

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