A Little Nightmare; Shackleford after a Hurricane

Lee Bradbury

A Little Nightmare

We call them writing spiders. It dines
in its fat, white zigzag, green and yellow,

lightning striped black with those spindly,
burnt crooklegs needled on their lines.

If Hell has a song, this spider plucks
it on a rag smile harp over the weeds.

So I hunt up a brown grasshopper
fat as my thumb and toss him to the crux.

He kicks all of himself through but the last
Flute of a foot. His kick sets the hook.

And yes, it snickers down for it, a scabbed
wound picking its knitty way across your chest.

An osprey sweeps by the wall in languid heaves
right with the chimney and picks the spider

out, sucks its web with her wings and wings
back into the woods, a swirl of the leaves.

It was her ruff of feather noise that woke me,
and I saw her tail go in the scrag oaks.

The window is open, and her wings I dreamed
are the wind fluffing nutmeg from the sea.

She’s out there somewhere in the raucous,
cicada wild, feeding it to her chick. I know it.

Her nest was on the number 12 buoy where
the sound is buggy and narrow in the trees.

I slept eyes open in the blueberry dark.
Salt oat musk turns on the night air.

Shackleford after a Hurricane

Horses are sauntering sunflares
fashioned in the wet, quartzy
sand after their hooves,
a coarse path winding, mare
in charge, the edge of the surf’s
force, or the shore’s show forked
in the sun’s hoarse glares.

Oysters, scallops all up in kelp,
torsion out of the sea,
a feast among shells, most broken,
some tan fans, a perfect coruscation
for the scavenging, black necked,
fat laughing gulls up high,
rickety against the blue wind.

There’s a Porsche on its roof,
Doors shut, windows open,
waist deep in the pours.
The surf insists the tires turn,
As if without remorse. Or the fair
Weather is its remorse. It may
Have fallen from a ferry. Each
Wave a verse, the surf insists.
A mare sniffs cavernous in a conch
Shell. Up in the oats, the horses.

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