Why I’m Afraid of Spiders

I remember
that I was seven or so.
I remember
the sound of the lock
as it shot into place
on the other side of the planked door.
I remember
the rust-red oil tank
draped with webs
where the creepy-crawlies lived.
I remember
the color of the painted-over bricks–
grey and white.
I remember
the dank smell
that I now know is from bad air,
full of mold and old, old dust.
I remember
how small the room was,
like a crypt.
I remember
the crack in the window,
the crumbling caulking around it,
the ground outside barely visible
through the dirt and grime.
I remember
the huge spider
whose web waved
with the breeze filtering
through the broken window.
I remember
there was no place to sit
but the floor,
so I did not sit.
I remember
the room getting darker and darker.
I remember
wiping my nose on the hem of my cotton dress.
I remember
being hungry.
I remember
thinking I’d been forgotten.
I remember
wondering if I would die,
even though I didn’t know what that meant.
I remember.
I remember.

What I don’t remember:
what I did
to deserve such a fate.

April 8, 2012
Written in Salt Lake City, but lived through in Onalaska, Wisconsin

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