Age of Loss by Richard Spilman

You have come to a time when everything is loss—

your parents dead, your friends dying or gone south.

You have come to a time when you have money

and nothing you care to do with it, though you take

cruises, spoil the grandkids, redecorate the house,

which, schooled in irony, echoes as if abandoned.

At the end of a day in which you cannot remember

whether you took the car in or got your teeth cleaned,

you sit before the TV and watch people discover

who murdered a woman trapped in a locked room.

You ready yourself for bed like the homeless

preparing to launch themselves into a cold wind.

You turn on the porch light to ward off the terrors

every night brings, and there in the pale glow

discover a web spread from firethorn to birch.

You go out in your robe, your plaid pajamas, 

and sit on the porch steps. The web pulses 

in the breeze—huge, white, glittering with dew. 

A perfect octagon shored by zigzag lacings, 

a sun wheel, a mandala, an Irish cross, and there 

So still despite its hunger

she is, dead center, the size of your thumb 

and blacker than the night that surrounds you, 

legs in twos on the crosspieces, yellow lightning 

down her back, motionless, riding the chill gusts

of an early autumn over the woody knives 

of the blown roses. Dour Edwards never saw one

like this, so still despite its hunger, at peace 

with suffering and death, nor knew what beauty 

hangs above the abyss, waiting patiently for grace.

Taken from the collection, “In the Night Speaking” with permission from the author.

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