The house spider
was on the inside
& didn’t budge
when the phoebe flew up
& clung to the window screen,
jabbing fruitlessly
at a meal turned to metal —
or rather, subdivided
into orderly
impenetrable holes,
as in a physics
textbook account
of the structure of matter.
Chalk lines on a blackboard,
rows of blank faces
at their desks.
But it was right there
the spider,
the phoebe,
the rattle of wings.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Wonderful telling using two of my own favorite subjects (spiders and birds) and one not (physics). Baffled, indeed.


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