Argiope catenulata

Orb weaver spider
Rick Marlatt



Come stretch beside me inside the cool

spheres of our shadows


before the light yawns over this summit

before we catch a little


glimpse of the funny stones littered along our path.

Let me read the turquoise laughter


riddled behind your broken clocks whose tiny

wheels have never lied.


When we were kids you prayed upside down

your knees curled around a monkey bar


your hair reaching for colors in the gravel

your gum inflating into a cherry orb


your fingers tracing over the rest of us

locking us into your rhythms.


Dancing upon the peak of all things

from somewhere underneath.


This is where you spun your songs

this is where you snagged me.


And today the morning is vanishing

today we are 40.


Today we ride this spectral strange and familiar

still hovering above and perpendicular


cradled inside a sharp fist rising hard

out of a screaming desert.


Today I peel your ponytail holders

from my elbow


I pull blonde strings from the bruised spine

of my book about secretive plants.


With our fingers wound together we are headed

wherever the sun nudges us


our simple eyes cutting through the distance

ignoring our thirst for the softest rain.




Rick Marlatt is an assistant professor of English Language Arts and Literacy at New Mexico State University. His recent work has appeared in numerous publications such as The New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Anthropology & Education Quarterly. His three chapbooks of poetry include How We Fall Apart, winner of the Seven Circle Press Poetry Award, Desired Altitude, winner of the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Poetry Prize, and November Father from Finishing Line Press.