When I was a young spider, flies in the net were heavy, almost pulling down the fine world I’d spun for myself on my head. When the fat-fall wasps would come out, the net would break in parts, stretch and skew to one side so that I could no longer just slide across. I learned to cling with just the very ends of my hair, as to avoid breaking the fine lines that weren’t yet ruined and pulling my world and wasp stinger-down upon myself.
When I took my first wasp, I discovered the true feat of webbery. Wasps are dangerous, with stinger still in and alive twisting in the lines. I sat in my corner for a day, watching her slow dying eyes, that face burning into my multiple retinas. When she finally gave in to the web, I crawled out carefully toward her, her face growing and filling my whole view, seeing the tired terror grow with every step I took. I did as I was taught, gripping her head in my front arms, and angling her body toward the wall as the web held her stinger safely away from me. I raked her back and forth across the jagged concrete siding until her stinger was destroyed. As she lost stinger, I lost a part of my soul in her fading eyes. Even now, my worst nightmares are of her antennae scraping across my eyes and legs frantically tickling my hairs as she dies in my grasp.
Wrapped up, I dragged her back to my cubby. She was so heavy that she could have crushed me between her body and stinger below. The web clung to her as I dragged her up, and all I knew was destruction behind, and death below.
This was my young days, continually crushed beneath the weight of this web I’ve wound, then rebuild just to destroy again. I’ve repeated this scenario with angry yellow jackets, fruit-drunk bees, deer flies and Junebugs, but there is nothing to gleam from them anymore but survival. I’m baiter, farmer and butcher. Their twitching legs, wings, or antennae remind me only that I also have limbs, and that this is what they are made for. Their eyes no longer teach me anything, nor take anything.
My existence ended much before I stole theirs away. I’ve wound webs in different gardens, tried different patterns, I’ve lost then consumed so many pieces of myself inside stolen wasps lives that I’m here, but trapped, inside my exoskeleton. I survive, but I destroy. I live and die and leave pieces of myself buried in other eyes.
Melinda Roy is a fisherwoman, birdwatcher, poet and storyteller from northern British Columbia. She has been published in Untethered, The Quilliad and Skirt Quarterly. She tweets @defnotapoet