From Issue II (2017)  


A Bias Toward the Beneficial


Out on the porch a rotund-bellied spider
catches bugs that nibble holes in my flowers.
The sun ignites spectral beadwork on
the glistening labyrinth of its slaughterhouse.

Its artistry ennobles its cunning plan.
But now a bee, that garden benefactor
hovering on extinction, gets entrapped,
and then I want to tear the web apart.

The bee hangs limp, past self-defense.
The spider’s engulfing limbs are swift and deft.
After the meal I cannot watch, the spider
re-centers in its mandala, poising for prey.

But after a blistery rain, diaphanous trailways
of web disappear, replaced by empty space.

Mary Newell

Mary Newell, PhD, lives in the lower Hudson Valley. She has taught literature and writing at the college level, most recently at West Point. Her poems have been published in Earth’s Daughters, Chronogram, Written River, About Place, Jivin’ Ladybug, First Literary Review East, Avocet, Spoon River Review, and Kind of a Hurricane Press’s Best of 2014 Anthology and The Four Seasons Anthology (2015). She has also published essays and reviews, as well as entries on Dickinson and Whitman for the Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature. She received her doctorate from Fordham University in American literature and the environment.