Cobweb by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
A tangle web anchored to a log pile by the fireplace; these webs, you know, arise in dark zones of neglect, and one day you’ll happen to be on your knees, looking for something, perhaps not even knowing what you’re looking for, when you’ll spot the stringy tangle, be too quick to dismiss it as dust or dirt, for it doesn’t have the flourish of spirals and spokes that an orb web has; it doesn’t bounce the first sunlight into your kitchen as you journal; but if you stay on your knees long enough you’ll see a method in the mess of the spin, in the loose-hanging threads that drip into sticky droplets; they’ll snare a thought no bigger than the splinter in your thumb as you reach into the logs, and the sticking of that thought will break the thread of where you’re at, and your thread will contract, lifting you up and into the web; you’ll let yourself go; relinquish to that waiting spider, a house spider you’ve sought to stave off with conkers on thresholds, but whose presence you’ve sensed; in nightmares spiders dropped onto your naked belly and you flailed in the dark against invisible legs; but here, now, go deep into the tangle; discover how a web anchors the nest of the chaffinch, how it glues the nests of the long-tailed tits and you’ll think of all the webs you’ve swept away, and of how you’ve been wired to fear a harmless house spider; when all this time it’s been quietly providing the glue for nests, without which they’d just be a tangle of sticks.
Kathryn Aldridge-Morris lives in Bristol, England. Her writing appears in publications including Ellipsis Zine, Janus Literary, The Phare, Reflex Fiction, the Brilliant Flash Fiction Anthology Vol 2 and she was recently shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award.