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Spider by Debmalya Bandyopadhyay

A spider has eight legs. Of course, you know this. You had learnt it in school

when you were all of five. It was a day trebled by crashing rains. Mrs. White had shown an

animated spider to prove her point. You held this tiny fact carefully in your hands and

added it to your museum of animal facts. Eight wiggly legs, school no longer mortar and

pestle, no longer scrubbed belly, liver-spinach, blind burrows under blankets. You

wondered what pants would fit them. Eight boots to go hunt flies. A thought kicks off with

all eight of its legs taking flight. You wanted a cobweb city to live in, to meet its spiders for

lunch at a mosquito cafe. You practised webbing from your wrists in case Mrs. White was a

Green Goblin. How you liked cobwebs back then! Soft invisible things running through the

air, brushing against your face sometimes, summer melting on the saddle of time. How you

wished you could invent softness out of thin air, and call it a home.


Debmalya is a poet and mathematician based in Birmingham, UK. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in The Hooghly Review, CounterClock, Spacebar Magazine, Snowflake Magazine's Queerness Anthology, and Subterranean Blue Poetry, among other places. He has lived by the rivers Ganga, Teesta, Kaveri, Rhea, and Thames.


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