The Paradox of the House Spider

At 3 AM, the bathroom light exposes a black house spider, crossing the beige marble floor. Alternating two pairs up and two pairs down, its spindly, robot-like legs wind down like a child’s wind-up toy.

At 3 AM, the bathroom light exposes
a black house spider,
crossing the beige marble floor. Alternating
two pairs up and two pairs down,
its spindly, robot-like legs
wind down like a child’s wind-up toy.

Spider killing falls on me. It goes
with being the man of the house. Wavering
between death and catch and release,
I consider the spider’s paradox: helpfully
consuming 10% of its weight in insects each day,
versus, the culturally gratuitous creep factor.

They manage to do good
in an elegantly repugnant way.
Just look at the disgusting demise of their prey—
a paralyzed blob waiting to be sucked dry, smack
in the middle of that ethereal lace doily of a deathtrap.

Humbly, it awaits judgement.
Does it think I don’t see it?

It’s simply too much of a bother
to bend over
in the middle of the night.

I let it be,
pee,
return to bed.

Alan Toltzis is the author of two poetry collections—49 Aspects of Human Emotion and The Last Commandment—and two chapbooks, Nature Lessons and Mercy. His poems have appeared in numerous print and online publications and he serves as an editor for The Mizmor Anthology. Find him online at alantoltzis.com; follow him @ToltzisAlan.