Hello Clementine

Clementine 01

(photograph by Laura Baker)

Some years ago, during a very dark time in my life, I lived alone in a small apartment.  In the bathroom the wallpaper border was peeling from the old paint, and mildew grew on the ceiling.  My clothes sat in neat piles on the floor inside a big duffle bag.  Parts of my life had crumbled despite my best efforts to hold everything together.  The weeks and months dragged on as I laid staring at the ceiling night after night, wondering how I had come to be here and where I was going.  I felt utterly alone.  But during the early weeks I discovered a quiet companion in a corner of the shower: a spider.  My Charlotte to her Wilber.  I called her Clementine.  I could have casually killed her to avoid her silky creepiness, for I don’t care for spiders.  Instead, in my loneliness, I greeted Clementine fondly each morning and evening, and missed her when she disappeared for a day or two.

This and the next five poems I post will chronicle my brief relationship with Clementine.

HELLO CLEMENTINE

A spindly-legged spider
hovers upside-down
above me, in the corner—
I don’t know what she eats
in this tidy little shack;
it’s only the two of us—
she faces away, but
I know she is only pretending
to not watch me.
Part of me squeams
to squash her:
three squares of toilet tissue
would do. But,
she is quiet and harmless;
this is her shack, too.
And, it’s only the two of us.

(Unfortunately I never took a picture of the real Clementine.  My daughter, Laura, took this and subsequent spider photographs of garden spiders around our house.)

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2 thoughts on “Hello Clementine

  1. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    Amazing how having something–no matter how seemingly insignificant–to focus on outside ourselves brings much needed perspective. A lucky spider, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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