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Carl Dennis

Carl Dennis

Carl Dennis's most recent book of poems, Another Reason, was published by Penguin in 2014. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Ruth Lilly Prize, he lives in Buffalo, New York.


However clever it is, the spider I found
In the sink this morning will never guess
It's great good fortune that I didn't drown it
But covered it with a cup, slid a postcard beneath it,
And carried it out to the patio.  Lucky for it
I'm either brimming with love for all creatures,
However small, or worried that if I allow myself
To regard a lowly specimen as dispensable,
I might think the same one day about higher life forms.
Or else I'm afraid of arousing the god of spiders
To spin an invisible web across my path
And watch me exhaust myself in struggling.

Yes, I'm a saint who's set aside the divisions
Of my space or yours, indoors or outdoors.
Or I'm a man of reason who's learned the hard way
To keep his dislikes in check and maintain,
In small encounters as well as large,
His live-and-let-live philosophy.
Or I'm willing to share my stone-age cave
With a little spinner whose god
Might avenge the death of a follower
By asking his brother, the god of caribou,
To hold the herd far from the hunt
I've planned for tomorrow,
Rain or shine, and leave me nothing
To feed my hungry family.


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