Monday, October 31, 2016

"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy," Thomas Lux

"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy"
(Thomas Lux)

For some semitropical reason   
when the rains fall   
relentlessly they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise   
bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long

and they can’t climb the ladder out.
They usually drown—but   
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,   
a reward for not loving

the death of ugly
and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,   
rats) creatures, if

you believe these things, then   
you would leave a lifebuoy
or two in your swimming pool at night.

And in the morning   
you would haul ashore
the huddled, hairy survivors

and escort them
back to the bush, and know,
be assured that at least these saved,   
as individuals, would not turn up

again someday
in your hat, drawer,
or the tangled underworld

of your socks, and that even—
when your belief in justice
merges with your belief in dreams—
they may tell the others

in a sign language   
four times as subtle
and complicated as man’s

that you are good,   
that you love them,
that you would save them again.

"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy" by Thomas Lux appears in New and Selected Poems 1975-1995. Lux lives in Atlanta, a town that knows a thing or two about hot-rainy-weather spiders and other crawly things. He is the Bourne Professor of Poetry and director of the McEver Visiting Writers program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lux also directs the Poetry at Tech program. In a recent interview he downplayed the idea of surrealism apparent in his work, but commented that "Sometimes there are lucky accidents though I think they’re more likely to happen if one has sweat a little blood." His recent collections are Child Made of Sand (2012) and God Particles (2008).

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