You are a spider, and you are beautiful.
You were born to be admired. Your legs are long and lean, like the thin branches waving breezily outside the window you call home. Your eyes are numerous and bright. Your abdomen is firm and shining. You are a limber nugget of pure gold, and you spin your gorgeous web every evening with the skill of an experienced craftsman.
But enough about you. Your web, your web! It shimmers in the morning light, your gift to this otherwise bland, gray world. Its broad lines dance as you tug along its edges. Its perfect circles arch gracefully from the center, a trap and a masterpiece. You stare at it lovingly, the pride in your cephalothorax warming like the heat of a perfect spring sunrise.
Until it’s knocked down with a broom.
You are a spider, and you are powerful.
You were born to be resilient. The human who tore it down simply didn’t know what he was doing, didn’t realize he was carelessly destroying your most careful art. You forgive him. Humans are simple creatures. They don’t spin webs. They don’t methodically craft intricate traps to catch flies. They’re too clumsy and too big, and their only real skills seem to include driving off to a gray cubicle to typity-type all day and fitting too many leftover pizza slices in their round, fleshy mouths.
So you spin a new web when the sun begins to set. It’s by far your best work. Truly. Your lines are straight, your circles are flawless, and the stars tango their silver rays across your translucent, sparkly lures in effortless waves. When morning comes, you clap your pedipalps in satisfaction and wait for admiration of your latest debut.
It’s . . . once again knocked down with a broom.
You are a spider, and you are going to figure this out.
You were born to impress, to reach the masses, to create with that brilliant mind of yours. You’re an artist, and artists don’t let setbacks like these stifle their creative energy.
Perhaps, you tell yourself, your last work wasn’t really your best. You can do better. Of course you can do better! You give yourself a spidery pep talk, nodding to yourself as you design your biggest, grandest, most unabashedly spectacular web yet. It won’t just catch flies; it will dazzle them to death. It won’t just glimmer with sunlight; it will glimmer with brilliance. How could a human knock it down once he sees its sheer majesty? Basks in its glory? Acknowledges the amount of effort, diligence, and planning that went into it?
You spin perfection. You slave over it, hour after blessed hour. You’ve got something to prove now, and you’re going to conquer this task with a sharp mind and sharper weaving. You are a knitter of the incredible, a seamstress of the impossible. And when you finish, you sigh through your chelicerae and lean back, breathless. This, you think, this is what spiders do. No one, you’re certain, will be able to look away from this beauty.
That is, until it’s knocked down with a broom, and you are nearly smashed to death this time.
You are a spider, and you are pissed.
You weren’t born for this nonsense. Does this human even realize how much time went into that web? And the webs before it? Does he even care? No. No! It’s clear this banal biped doesn’t care, because if he did, he would take one freaking minute to at least consider the HIGH ART you’ve gifted him! And it’s not just gorgeous; it’s actually USEFUL! Does he want a house full of flies? Nasty-ass flies? Surely not if there’s even one brain cell in that gigantic, hamburger-meat-filled skull of his! The absolute disrespect. You knew better than to assume he would appreciate your genius, but you spun your best anyway. Pearls before swine! A total waste!
You pray to all the Spider Gods that a plague of flies descends upon his home. Fruit flies, house flies, gnats, all of ’em! Know what? Blood-sucking mosquitos, too. Big, fat ones. And you spin your last web, big enough for him to get the message. When he wakes in the morning this time, you’ll be long gone, out somewhere where your work is appreciated. And he’ll be left with a web in the shape of a hand raising a giant middle finger.
Because you are a spider, and you know your damn worth.
T.C. Kemper is an American author and poet represented by Amy Giuffrida of Belcastro Agency. Her writing (scholarly, journalistic, literary, and satire) has been published in The Journal of Conflict Management, The Black Sheep, Women on Writing, A Celebration of Young Poets, and others. She is a new mom, doodler, daydreamer, and rescue dog advocate. When she’s not lost in a beautifully crafted story, she’s likely lost in the woods. T.C. Kemper lives with her husband, her brindle pup, her very chubby baby, and the ghosts that haunt her closet.