Nature in the New Year

Julie Hanson

First my ear located it,

and then my eye—

the fly had settled like a bad idea

on the brassy rim of a light fixture directly overhead.

I hadn’t finished with my soup.

I rolled up my reading and gave several swats.

The fly quieted somewhere out of sight.

The midday light spilled in and overfilled the room.

It was barely contained by the plaster.

The picture window was outspoken.

There was all that brightness to behold.



I stood and turned and saw the fly, suspended now,

two inches from the wall and three from the ceiling.

The fly gestured once: quarter turn of a leg.

A spider was positioned in another quadrant of the web—

I could make out the bead of its body:

body smaller than a fennel seed,

legs too fine, too far away for me to see.



Too cold to stick to surfaces,

the snow had only landed on the snow already down.

What had shoveled easily came loose on top,

a wisp sent scudding past the glass.

Then nothing more.

No tracks.



The fly was gone. It was nowhere on the ledge below

and not in the cluster of dust on the floor.
Meantime, the spider had returned

to the northwest sector, remote and attendant.

And, so far as I could tell, the same size exactly.

Julie Hanson is the author of The Audible and the Evident and Unbeknownst. She has poems recent or forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Cave Wall, Poetry East, Cherry Tree, and VOLT.
Originally published:
January 18, 2023

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