The Spider in the Funeral Parlor

The spider does not recognize the woman as human

as it crawls across her stiff, starched collar

en route to the dark corner of the open coffin. There is nothing here

that would tell it that this is a person, no warmth

emanating from her flesh, no pulse beneath the pale, white skin

no blood. The spider might as well be crawling over

the folded hands of a marble statue, the still chest

of a toppled goliath, a jumble of broken doll parts.


If the spider were to recognize the woman

as such, would it surmise that her blood had been removed

by something like itself, some massive creature that drained blood

from its victims, replacing all bodily fluids with corrosive liquid

leaving the outer shell of the corpse to fade in on itself

slowly, as though collapsed by a slow leak or a steady hand?

And would our little spider fear this creature that could drain

something as large as this dead woman, would it

look elsewhere than the coffin for a safe place for its web

perhaps continue on to the far corner of the chapel instead?