the summertime of our youth meant black widow hunting with a can of aqua net and a lighter. rummaging behind junk boxes in the shed or in between the wooden slab entrance of our mother’s garden, we could spot her irregular spider web several feet away; the way it glistens in the afternoon shade. my brother held the aqua net can and i ignited the fire; it created a firestorm, an instantaneous charred death.
the cruelest act was watching her cocoon of eggs burn; and her babies scattering for shelter.
it is a nightmare that returns, the phobia that remains in the forefront. Yes, i dream of the dead mothers; their hour glass bellies resting against mine, their children crawling up and down my arms and legs is if i were their play gym.
it is a reoccurring sentence given for the crime of being a cruel child.
in our yard, they are free to take shelter in the cactus, in the aloe vera garden, inside the old wooden rocking chair that rests under the mesquite tree.
inside me, turmoil brews when little bella races around the yard–curious and brave in extending her hand in areas where those shiny widows may rest.
we watch her carefully.
we are told widows fear us more.
dearest reader, i must confess i am at odds with myself.
one half is deathly fearful of their poison and vengeance; but the other half believes in harmony, that all mothers must exist side by side.
so, i show bella her glistening web, the beautiful black mother and her red hourglass crown. I tell her, “if you see her red belly you must not touch or get too close.”
i do believe she understands what i am saying.
inspired by the thought of wearing my cruelty like a scarlet letter or a necklace charm.
(a real black widow charm here )