Not in My House

The Philosopher says, To kill a spider
in his own habitat is to invite bad karma;
if he comes into my house, it is a different matter.

She has a span as broad as the glass,
and I’m careful as I place it over her,
my palm against the base, my fingers

curved to grip the sides. One leg flutters
and is almost trapped. I hold the glass tipped,
blow gently underneath the thin edge,

and she hunches from my breath.
The hair-like foot is free
and I press close. Everything is still.

I watch as she unfurls, spreading
a little across the faded paint.
balancing herself.

The card is blank, polished.
It slips beneath the glass and nudges up
against the first leg. She hunches.

I nudge. She tests the edge.
It’s not a fight, it’s a suggestion,
a collaboration. I hope

that should I stray across a boundary
I too might be treated gently.
She’s on and now I flip the prison, she and I

at eye-level with the glass wall
in between. I carry her home
and relieve her of my monstrousness.

Diane Mulholland


Diane Mulholland was born in rural Australia but now lives in London, where she can often be found beside the Thames. Her work has appeared widely in journals including Under The Radar, The Tangerine, and Long Poem Magazine.

© 2019