by Charlie Malone
You meet her, among the cracks
and right angles of Deep Lock Quarry.
She crabs back to cover her clutch of eggs.
Your muscles go taut in the same way
wild, and unconsidered—heart quick
without enough breath to compare
your relative mass, you back away.
I tell you she can prey on fish five times her body size
just to turn your blood on. Pumping too loud in your ears
to consider her family: the nursery web spiders
—a different way to name her.
I wonder what is/isn’t automatic or natural?
We ought to be careful, looking over the menu at Fisher’s Cafe,
that no one decides to name us by what we consume:
Bread people, beef people, egg crushers & cheese melters, oil
folks & forest eaters, mountain top destroyers, those who confuse shame for power — then swallow it all, drainers of rivers, desert makers, 73 hot dogs in 10 minutes, entire neighborhoods of old homes, feeding on memory, feeding on self-improvement, clutching our eggs & our pets close to the tangle of veins & arteries & nerves in our core, web of ribs, sternum & carapace.
American BeaverKatie Daley
Painted TurtleRebekah Ainsworth
Green DarnerMarion Boyer
Eastern Screech-OwlDr. R. Ray Gehani
Spring PeeperBarbara Sabol
Eastern Carpenter BeeSylvia Clark
Jacob's LadderRisha Nicole
Candleflame LichenClara Britton
Eastern NewtElizabeth Ryan
American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon
American ChestnutCarrie George
American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski
American Giant MillipedeMary Quade
American HornbeamJeff Gundy
American White WaterlilyGeoffry Polk
Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller
Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone
Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda
Common StonefliesKaren Schubert
Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp
Eastern Tent Caterpillar MothZachary Thomas
Eastern Red-backed SalamanderTovli Simiryan
Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes
Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman
Great MulleinLaurie Kincer
Green HeronPaula J. Lambert
Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny
Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin
Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming
Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser
Poison HemlockJon Conley
Red-Headed Ground BeetleBob King
Star JelliesCameron Gorman
Sugar MapleSteve Brightman
Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon
White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell
White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes
Wild CarrotJessica Jones
Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.