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Through the Center

by Alan Harris
In the humid stillness
of this August afternoon
I watch a spider spinning its web
in the ceiling corner above
what some may call my deathbed.

Is there a faint whisper?
I hold my breath to hear it.
No, no sound at all--
a silent eight-legged dance
on the wallpaper border,
a twirling in air,
a catching on a thought.

Share the secret
of your web's design with me,
fellow spinner in space,
and I'll reveal it to mankind
in homely phrases,
given a few more days on earth.
Fill me with your simple wisdom
as I lay complexities aside.

What is this long-lost feeling?
As your web takes flimsy form,
my room grows dim, then dark--
this air will not be breathed.
Some force is kindly lifting me
to your delicate ceiling circle
that I may venture through the center
toward our one and only Light.

From the book Blue Sky in Buckets (1990)

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