by Laura Parker Roerden
a web of concentric
circles. Each anchored
or so holdfasts,
on a wheel,
against which everything hinges.
Around and around she goes,
adding to her work,
bridging the distance from
to another, length by length,
and perspective as she telescopes inward,
moving deftly to a center only
the edges can project, filling
in a spiral with detail.
Her strange and perfect offering
completes itself in zigs and zags like a zipper
on a fine golden purse to safely carry expected coin.
By morning the light and dew
create a hall of mirrors,
drawing her prey down
now lit corridors,
the mirage of open
space an enticement to beyond,
but instead a dead end.
A goldfinch flies over the garden
on his way to a field where evening
primrose offers buttercups of nectar
and darts past the spider,
her work a magnificent lit
lamp tilted just so
he can avoid ruining her elaborate
composition. By evening, the spider
dines on her work, now studded
with the jewels of beatles
and papery moths, lying still
in silky sarcophagi.
The spider unwinds
her entire web, ingesting it within
in a feat of impressive completion,
only to begin
The Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia or “with a bright face” in Latin) goes by several other common names including the writing spider, corn spider, or McKinley spider. They are found in all 48 contiguous states usually in gardens or at the edges of open fields. We commonly see Garden Spiders on squash or tomato plants in the farm’s vegetable garden that abuts a hayfield.
Laura Parker Roerden is the founding director of Ocean Matters and the former managing editor of Educators for Social Responsibility and New Designs for Youth Development. She serves on the boards of Women Working for Oceans (W20) and Earth, Ltd. and is a member of the Pleiades Network of Women.