Yellow Sac Spider
By Cameron Morse
One morning I find on the kitchen counter a torn piece of a paper towel with the word spider in green highlighter resting atop my empty jar of Barilla pesto, unscrew the cap and walk the partially rinsed jar to the flowerbed, army green flecks of basil still slicked to the inside glass. A yellow sac spider, indeed, lay at the bottom of the translucent rink. Who left the name of its species, any of the predaceous arachnids of the order Araneae, I can only infer from the neatness of the script to have been my mother. With whom my wife and I have lived all these years since the year of my first seizure and subsequent treatments for brain cancer. I can only guess my spider, for upon my reception of this missive it became mine or at least mine to dispose of, crawled into the jar of its own volition only to be discovered there by Mom because she has in her life squashed her fair share of spiders and would not have hesitated to expunge another, especially one caught trespassing on the immaculate quartz countertop. For my part, understanding how arachnophobia is presumed to be genetically hardwired due to troubled prehistorical relations between us and them, I prefer to extend pardon and proffer a life unfettered among phloxes. I set the jar down and walk away as I once dropped two pet turtles in a campus pond because I was tired of them and breaking up with the girl with whom I carried back their terrarium from the wet market to my sixth-floor apartment at the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology, the girl I could never get rid of, who later became my wife.
A week or so has elapsed since I returned my tallow little friend to what constitutes for eight barbed legs and miniscule brain the wild or at least a more natural habitat than a six-ounce jar of various ingredients including but not limited to grana Padano cheese, potato flakes, and cultured milk, salt, enzymes. Deciding it may be time to pay a visit, I step out into the stillness and heat and intermittent breeze of mid-April sun rising at the birding hour of morning to find alas the poor soldier in still the same position as the one in which I first made his acquaintance, the legs alongside one half of his abdomen twirled together, the other half’s legs splayed.
Everything for naught, the note, the period of captivity, the release to the wild, all of it: the return visit from Beijing, family meeting vacation to Florissant in which I fell as if struck by lightning and convulsed at the foot of the wardrobe, the ambulance ride butt cracks of EMTs moth beating at the headlamp CAT scan and subsequent MRI, all of it for a drowned sailor, a disembodied member of a species generally hated by members of my own and maybe even murdered by my own mother. What joy is this, devoid of content, what empty joy.
About the Author:
Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri--Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press's 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Terminal Destination (Spartan Press, 2019). He lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review.
About Weekly Flash Prose and Poetry:
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