• sometimes, he would sleep on the benches at the church
    or lay across the swings like a hammock.
    if you bothered to ask, he’d quietly tell you
    that a home is where the loved ones live
    and he only had room in his heart for spiders
    and they didn’t care if he kept his socks clean, so
    ‘any table or bench will do.’

    his mouth was split and his hands were dirty
    and he was an artist, you know, with a bit of a creaky mind
    but if you caught him on a good day, when his eyes weren’t so far,
    he’d speak of a sea tinted green, where the air is clean
    and life is a bit easier.

    her mother begged her to be pretty, to stay clean
    to wear dresses laced with pink spider string
    and ‘Good Lord child, put down those nasty things
    you’re a lady, not a beast not a dog not a lad!’
    and when she was a teen she snuck out of bed
    to go paint by the light of the stars.
    she was an artist, you know,
    with skinny hands and no patience for bows
    or soup or spoons.
    she wanted mud and wire and fire and goats
    and butterflies and love and motes

    but most of all, she wanted to see him
    to share chalk with him once again
    and dance with no beat and
    have the world fall away and leave nothing but them.

    A boy can stay in one place only so long
    before the spiders start to feel wrong.