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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 48-49
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The Cactus Spider, and: Perspective
The Cactus SpiderThe shadow of the spider on the yellow-lit drape is
briefly human. A leg lounged seductively
over the trim with the coyness of a peepshow girl –
it dangles on silk, then eases itself onto the sill.
The cactus, also human – a splayed hand catching the thread
of the body. The confusion of parts like clumsy lovers
or the thin column of figures in Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines –
spines, areoles, fingers, flesh. The stem of the cactus robed
in the spider's stilled limbs; embraced, captive.
The third figure – crumpled, beaten, sagging on the couch – witness:
the spider, the cactus, the ordered shadow on the shade.
PerspectiveFor the fathers who framed it, the thought of light
traipsing a straight line
diagrammed the vision of God. A trick of the eye
created the illusion [End Page 48]
of a body's contour: the soft curves of a fallen
figure. And who else
could be held accountable for a shape so quick