by Diane Fahey

Diane Fahey

At once soured bohemians—
‘free-living predators’—
and custodians of the flagellum:
worthy title for a medieval sect,
addicted, no doubt, like the wolf spider,
to ‘retiring habits’ …
Certainly, highly toxic
with either a fin de siècle,
sting-in-the-tail wit,
or crudely fundamentalist—
the primal lash of ‘Thou shalt not!’
(Jeremiah, as opposed to Oscar).
Earliest of arachnids, scorpions
were marine, 400 million years ago:
a concentration of memory
in the service of survival.
Carapaced, pincered,
still somehow oceanic,
they have power over humans
through pain, terror, surprise:
agents of the uncanniness
of danger, its collusion with
the unconscious—some hidden facet
wanting to strike out
or be laid open to wounding.
As usual, it's complicated for us.
Scorpions, successfully single-minded;
wear their complexities suavely:
self-contained fighters and burrowers;
ruled by Mars and Pluto.

Mayflies in amber

Last updated August 18, 2022