Aphonopelma chalcodes

Arizona blond tarantula

Laynie Browne





Arizona Blond, a tarantula, lives in a two-inch burrow with Strands of Silk, Mesquite Leaves, Saguaro Spine, Ashes, Desert Lavender, a boy, and a thimble-sized Monsoon Puddle.


Here she combs her light-brown hair holding mesquite leaves in her pedipalps. She brews mead in a gambel’s quail egg-shell.


Once, Arizona was stirring the brew and scalded her legs.


Strands of Silk began to moan.


The boy, who slouched in the corner, asked, what are you moaning for?


Silk replied, Arizona has scoffed herself. The boy began to weep.


Saguaro Spine began to run very fast past a heap of Ashes, which cried out, why do you rumba, little spine?


Because, replied Saguaro Spine, Arizona has scandaled herself. The boy wefts. Strands of Silk mob, and Mesquite Leaves sweep.


Then, said the Ashes, I will burn furiously. Desert Lavender asked, Little heap, why do you burnish?


Because Arizona’s scansioned herself, and the boy is weighed. Strands of Silk mock. Mesquite Leaves swell. Saguaro Spine rumors on so fast.


Desert Lavender cried, I will shake myself, and went on shaking until fragrance was wafted among them quite pliantly.


A girl passing by with a water-pitcher saw Lavender in shallows, and asked, why do you shamble yourself?


Why may I not, asked Lavender, Arizona’s scarce herself. The boy welds. Strands of Silk cross a moat. Mesquite Leaves swerve. Saguaro Spine ruminates, and Ashes burrow.


Then the girl said, I will break my pitcher, and she threw it down into a myriad of pie-eyed shards.


Monsoon Puddle, growing suddenly deeper, asked, why did you break your pitcher?


Arizona’s scathing herself, and the boy wields his weight. Strands of Silk mope. Mesquite Leaves swill. Saguaro Spines rummage. Ashes bustle. Desert Lavender shackles her leaves. Now it is my turn!


Monsoon Puddle shuddered haphazardly, reflecting a suddenly storied sky.


Thunder interrupted, and then feral rain. Monsoon Puddle became a rivulet and flouted and flowered along in a stove-pipe stream, which kept growing lanky and unbridled, until they all crept up out of the hollow, to a higher vista, whereupon Arizona said, don’t worry, these legs are no bother.


And she took them off, along with her entire tan suit. At first the boy gasped, but when Arizona walked away from her old molt he stood very still watching, and then he laughed— and asked her if he might carry her molt away.




Laynie Browne’s most recent books include Roseate, Points of Gold (Dusie 2011), The Desires of Letters (Counterpath 2010), and The Scented Fox (Wave 2007). She is co-editor of I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues, 2012).