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Great Great Grandspider 2120

Bristol City Poet
Caleb Parkin

Written by Caleb Parkin

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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.

Header photo: Caleb Parkin (Paul Samuel White).

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