Age of Loss by Richard Spilman

You have come to a time when everything is loss—

your parents dead, your friends dying or gone south.

You have come to a time when you have money

and nothing you care to do with it, though you take

cruises, spoil the grandkids, redecorate the house,

which, schooled in irony, echoes as if abandoned.

At the end of a day in which you cannot remember

whether you took the car in or got your teeth cleaned,

you sit before the TV and watch people discover

who murdered a woman trapped in a locked room.

You ready yourself for bed like the homeless

preparing to launch themselves into a cold wind.

You turn on the porch light to ward off the terrors

every night brings, and there in the pale glow

discover a web spread from firethorn to birch.

You go out in your robe, your plaid pajamas,

and sit on the porch steps. The web pulses

in the breeze—huge, white, glittering with dew.

A perfect octagon shored by zigzag lacings,

a sun wheel, a mandala, an Irish cross, and there

she is, dead center, the size of your thumb

and blacker than the night that surrounds you,

legs in twos on the crosspieces, yellow lightning

down her back, motionless, riding the chill gusts

of an early autumn over the woody knives

of the blown roses. Dour Edwards never saw one

like this, so still despite its hunger, at peace

with suffering and death, nor knew what beauty

hangs above the abyss, waiting patiently for grace.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on

About the Poet:

Richard Spilman is the author of In the Night Speaking and of a chapbook, Suspension. His poetry has appeared in many journals, from Poetry and The Southern Review to Gargoyle and Kissing Dynamite. 

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