Clade Song 9

Redwood Wedding

            (for Logan & Elijah,
            Henry Cowell State Park)

I stood through the service watching a spider
(later: Neoscona crucifera; first worship, then work)
slowly dismantle its damaged web

—“dismantle” is wrong: the web was consumed,
the way the couple consumed their past
to feed their future: silk spun from scraps

of tested silk: love woven in love’s orb.
By the final vows and rings and kiss,
the stunned pause as they looked at us

from the center of this trap or home,
the spider had also paused, and I
thought of the world—what good is love?—

and I could have put my foot through it all,
but instead stepped back, and let them pass.


Kent Leatham’s poems and translations have appeared in dozens of journals, including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Fence, Softblow, Able Muse, and Poetry Quarterly. He received an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Pacific Lutheran University, served as an associate poetry editor for Black Lawrence Press, and currently teaches writing at California State University Monterey Bay.