Volume 9 (Spring 2015)

Gerry LaFemina


I keep its shed exoskeleton the way I’ve kept my worn leather jacket, stiffened by absence. Having been both, it knows the exact meanings of hunter, of prey. How punk rock its two-tone spiny hairs; how not, my cheap nostalgia. I know the tarantula doesn’t mourn its molted skin, just as I know the woman I yearn for is not in my past.

I used to hold it in my palm for it was the size of my palm. I’d pet it with one finger, though sometimes it would rise on its hind legs and hiss. When it bit me, I sucked the venom from the wound though I knew it couldn’t kill me, and knew, too, the pleasure of that burn. Sometimes,  I’ll say it loved me, but truly I know otherwise.

Gerry LaFemina is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose

including Vanishing Horizon, Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist, and Little Heretic. His book of essays on poetry, Palpable Magic, will be released later this year. He directs the Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University and serves as Executive Director of Poets at Work.

On Libations: "I just got back from Brazil, where I spent a week getting acquainted both

with some interesting arachnids and the caipirinha, a drink made of cachaca (which is a sugar cane brandynothing like rum at all), sugar, and lime. It's quite simple, quite strong, quite sweet and quite perfect for not wondering what it is that might be crawling into your shoe."