Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Summer 2014

Volume 11 Issue 3



A Spider

By William L. Houts

Sprawled in my favorite chair,
I found a spider striving down
my sweater's cotton roads;
uncruel, I meant to brush her
from my collar to the floor,
but a brainless finger crushed her.
Drunk on ideas the size of salt,
her witty legs, those marvelous legs
had skittered her down the wall
to vistas of heaving; the ebb
and flow of my breathing.
A ruined husk.  I didn't reckon
the difference between our lives,
the stellar gap between a spider's
life and mine:  and this was my task,
for if it exists, a reckoning spider is
truly a monster, a foe to be fought.
But she was no monster,
and I was only a man in a chair,
reading, with no ill intent:  and yet
that tiny walker died, a small
color in the world gone to gray
at my blameless finger's end.

William L. Houts lives in Steilacoom, Washington, where he resides with his Mother, sister and two or three cats, depending upon their mood. He enjoys writing, mudding, and consuming vast quantities of sushi. He composed "A Spider" using JFW 14 with RealSpeak Daniel and Word.

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