Saint Francis

by Brian Reickert

A spider web with rain drops.

On an August afternoon,
on the fringe of a riotous
wildflower garden, I crouched

to observe the mortal struggle
of a tiny green spider
and a yellow/black hornet

on the chest of Saint Francis
draped in plaster robes,
arms outstretched as if
to embrace the world

in fine strands strung
from frozen limbs
like a cat’s cradle.

A single spindly leg
firmly ensnared,
the hornet buzzed and lunged,
plunging its thorned abdomen blindly
and wildly as the spider pounced
and withdrew.

I returned later
as the light deepened
and the air cooled

to find the hornet dead
and the spider, too.

Each adhered to a strand
of the ragged web
and curled inward—

as the cicadas droned
and bats darted through
dusk’s creeping bruise.

Category: Featured, Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student