Kathleen Jones


Far away but
not very far
a death falls.


Grief travels like rogue waves. In the wake I keep you close. I make you promise to never hurt yourself, to never die. Even with the same couch same bed same table same shower same car same town state continent family

bodies might or must diverge.


When she knows a wind
storm is coming, the golden silk
orb-weaver dismantles
a small portion of her web.

She wrecks one room
of her own home
so the wind will have space
to travel without tearing the rest.


Negative space,
thanks to the quickness,
the nerve-endings, the colander,
the branches above: the arch of air
beneath your back. Fingerprints
remembered alone. Pot empty
but for salted pasta water.
Patches of ground left dry
the last time it rained.


Silk is stronger than steel.


The spider works construction
every morning, at peace
with rebuilding.


Our apartment is full
of four feet of saltwater,
formless ocean taking
the shape of our rooms.

Atlantic, pasta water, tears
of mourning, all reasonable.
The refrigerator shorted out—
grief travels in waves—
and in the wake we have to eat
all the ridiculous foods:

ice cream, popsicles,
dumb tongue celebrations.


Genus Nephila, also known as
the writing spider who weaves
or plucks naturally. When approached
for prey she vibrates or takes a silk line out.
Uses the web to leave the web.


What if we could ward
off pain, compartmentalize
the places it is allowed to seep.

Instead of flashlight batteries
or fastened windows, instead
of entire parlors dedicated

to the rituals of death,
what if we could say
take only this box in the attic,

destroy only these things
which I have already destroyed
and can easily replace.

Kathleen Jones holds an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and she works as a teacher and designer in Wilmington, NC. Her work was most recently published in Gesture and Iodine and is forthcoming in Ninth Letter Online, Baldhip, Middle Gray, and Heavy Feather Review.

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