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Lions Roar : March 2011
60 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 My eighth year was a murderous one. Strung across a pin oak’s low branches, a web held the threshold between life and death. the giant banana spider was splayed in the middle of her spiral—fuzzy, black, articu- lated legs motionless but awake. her body was armored in gold. if the sunlight and i moved under the right shadows, i could see her hooked fangs ever ready with venom. She was an orb-bound Kali, fierce, horrifying, and beautiful, sur- rounded by a necklace of silk-wrapped dead. Sometimes, i dared to summon her by plucking a note on an outer thread, the tensile strength against my finger a shock. She ran toward the vibration’s source, found noth- ing, then returned to her center. i loved to watch her dance. When prey did get tangled, i gasped at how quickly she cap- tured it. She was here, then there, a leap, a plunge. her body streamed out a shroud, and her legs twisted it, tiptoed, in a coil around the insect. She sucked out its life, then cut it free. i gave her offerings that summer. in the deep shade along the house where only moss could grow and leaves rot, doodlebugs—pill bugs—crawled around in groups. i liked to play with the gentle, little semi- circles. Knocked to their backs, they flailed many tiny legs in attempts to grab something and set themselves right again. if startled, they curled into balls, soft insides neatly hidden un- der hard gray or black shells. they were soundless, until they were collected in a jar. then i’d put my ear to the glass and In Every Living Thing Spiders with hooked fangs, giant cockroaches with wings— RonLyn DomInguE comes to understand the value in small lives. photoS by debbie heMenWay