black widows hovering in space

Last weekend I planted additional bell peppers and sweet peppers plus a honeydew melon. I anointed them with homemade compost and cold water, and they trembled in thanksgiving. Last night I padded to the garden with my headlamp and — lo! — found three black widows hovering in interstitial space between my tomato plants, large and black and menacing. For weeks they’ve been fattening themselves on the milk and honey of insect life in my garden. They were steroidally huge with thin triple-jointed legs. Slipping my construction gloves on, I pinched the life out of them with my thumb and forefinger, one by one, cracking their bright red hourglasses. They’re surprisingly fragile. The only thing separating them, and us, we other widows and widowers, orphans and orphaned, from death is a wee bit of pressure, from above, or the side, or within. May we all be happy and well and free from suffering. The only godless prayer worth uttering!

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4 Responses to black widows hovering in space

  1. Fiona Bell says:

    We have a variety of them here, the red-back, also from the Latrodectus family that the black widow comes from. And while red-backs are one of the most deadly spiders in Australia, I read that no one has died from a red-back bite here since 1956 (due to the development of an anti-venom), which provides come comfort, but I still hate seeing them!

  2. Beside the praying mantis, the black widow is the most literary of insects. I’ll have to look up the red-back. There’s a spider here in the US called the recluse that causes panic every now and then. K

  3. Karyn says:

    It is fascinating to see that photo of a Black Widow. I didn’t realise that they were so similar to Redbacks, even though you often find the bigger Redbacks surrounded by the corpses of the smaller males. Living on a bush block, they are a never-ending trial, and we often come across nests of them in the house. But they are so common you get used to them; it is the snakes and scorpions that disturb us the most.

    And thank you for your lovely message on twitter this morning. That was a nice way to start the day.

  4. […] flat-out stole this epigram from Bellow, inadvertently—and I am pleasantly gratified I did. See previous post, about widows and widowers, orphans and orphaners. Timeline: I read Bellow, an idea influences me, […]

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