Diane Wakoski

Saving The Spider | Diamond Dog, Unleashed in the Airport | Amulet
July 8, 2013 Wakoski Diane

Saving The Spider


I. Not

This is a first.  I saw it like a cabochon –smooth-cut

black sapphire against morning’s

porcelain bowl  and could not  bring myself

to carry it outdoors.  It would

drown when I opened the tap.


For all my love of the arachnid world’s

crawling gems, and all my

years of banishing but never crushing

spiders, I turned away

from this one.  It looked like a crown/ I thought, “La Belle,”

because it was;

but what if Beauty was no more human

than her



II.  Wherein, time is a factor

From an elapsed thrust, the gladiator’s blood, escapes and hisses

through the air to my face,

spidering it with a rubymask/ he

defended me against meteors,

asteroids, the Perseids of a French summer

night.  I

love the scentless world of

gems, the spider’s odorless cabochon body,

the illusion of permanence

that holds me back from crushing a spider

with my sweaty, otiose, human hand.


III.  Wherein, the landscape is defined

Hitting the diamond, the sun

spiders out its tunnels of light.  They crawl

over the wall, bounce back and

web over

my arm and wrist — even my upturned palm.

Enwebbed by light, I lie

and say, “of course it does

not hurt.”  How could anyone


deny Beauty?



Diamond Dog, Unleashed in the Airport


My old arms, like bolts of cloth

unfold, let go in the rapid unroll of silk

from its cardboard cylinder, and the leash

pours out from my fist like water

from a faucet.  He is loose.  The Diamond Dog

running through the airport, ahead of me

and quickly lost in the soprano sax

of “These Foolish Things.”


I surrender.  I’m so spent,

looking for my brother, David,

who bent over to kiss me once in a dream/ then

the spilled amaretto the/ shaking torso/ the

unmitigated oblation of/ melody so/ innocent

it could/ be diamonds/

crushed/ as in velvet/ she,

against, copy/ the old words,

say, “we failed,” that love wasn’t

enough.  Diamond Dog jumps

back into my arms/ I am not


to carry him on board,

so I speak the one spell I know:




and this is the way you get through the airline doors,

through the gates of the underworld,

bending like cloth falling

off its bolt.





Around my neck,

amber enclosed in silver, a

drop of blood

from the eyes of a tree

Diane Wakoski, born in Southern California, graduate of UC, Berkeley, began her poetry career in New York City (1960-1973).  Her selected poems, Emerald Ice (Black Sparrow) won the William Carlos Williams prize (1989, PSA). Bay of Angels (Anhinga Press, 2014) is her newest collection.  She has retired as University Distinguished Professor, from Michigan State University after 37 years, and lives with her husband the photographer, Robert Turney, in East Lansing, MI.