A couple of minutes ago, I saw a spider descend from the ceiling in the next room, slowly and gracefully, and then come to rest on the little organ my mother bought at a garage sale across the street not long after she moved in. My mother doesn�t know it, and would be horrified if she did, but there are several such spiders in the house. Until recently, one was living in its web near a light in the living room ceiling, directly over the chair next to the stereo. Two nights ago, when we were listening to some music, the spider dropped down and paused in front of my face. When I extended my finger and moved the strand of silk aside, it dropped the rest of the way to the floor. My mother didn�t notice. I half-expected the spider to crawl up my leg, but it didn�t, and it didn�t appear on the arm of the chair.

I suppose spiders are used to such developments. Imagine being able to travel great distances by means of the silk inside you. Imagine trusting your fate to the breeze and building a new home wherever you land.

Two hours later. I am blown about myself these days, between two houses, between chores, between family members, between desires, hopes, and needs.

While in the shower I had this thought: How strange it would be if my mother were suddenly to rediscover her former self. It would be wonderful in a way, but it would also be tragic, because she would realize how far she has traveled from who she was, and the profound effect her current situation has had on the rest of the family. She would realize, for instance, that my wife and I are able to spend little time and few nights together. We will survive, of course, but for people who are as close as we are, and who depend on each other�s love, humor, guidance, reassurance, and touch, being apart causes its own kind of pain.

Suspended by silk,
I land on a prickly weed
with blood-red flowers.

May 31, 2006

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