Great Great Grandspider 2120
This was the third commission for Caleb Parkin as City Poet.
‘Love for things that are nothing like us, and which may not love us back.’
Rebecca Tamás, in Stranger: Essays on the Human and Nonhuman
Microhexura motivaga is my adoptive great great spruce-
fir moss grandspider: world’s smallest tarantula,
thriving still, on rocky outcrops in South Appalachia
where she remains too busy for me, or humanity.
She’ll never visit 22nd-century compostable cities:
messy green conglomerations of enmeshed species.
Her territory is three metres squared, and she does
not care about any sustainably developed policy;
right now, she’s gracefully enveloped a springtail
half her own mass. She doesn’t realise we inhaled
our bloated CO2, learned to view mountains as
our teachers. She doesn’t give two shakes of her
thorax that once you sent a passionate email
to your MP Re: That Ancient Tree, or buried seeds
for future nonhumanity. She is sole treasurer
of her nation of moss, constructing a funnel
8mm wide to shelter from the now customary
blizzards and rains. She jostles her spinnerets,
tethers high-tensile time from her abdomen
to the undiscovered planet of her boulder.
She is now: loamy water, tasted in mouthparts;
the brisk prickle of snowmelt, soaked through
this understory; the scattering of prey, away from
her clustered eyes. She couldn’t care less that every
single vote was counted, mattered, because – look!
Here come those great great great grandspiders,
those great great great great – add as many greats
as you like – grandspiders, who’ll thrive too, not caring
if we were part of the reason she’s here: balanced
like (but nothing like) a world-renowned acrobat,
on the glittering white promise of her egg-sac.
Caleb performed this poem at the start of our event with Roman Krznaric on Thursday 19 November 2020. Watch the full event here. You can see Caleb reading the poem below.