The Centipede

O Herr House Centipede,
Why dost thou terrify
When thou treadest upon my wall,
With thy trembling carapace
And legs like russet spindles?

Dashing amongst the leggy recesses
Of the table and his family of chairs,
Thou art a reedy wraith and I a quivering birch.
O, what dost thou do in the skulking shadows
And lonely loam beneath the thatch and brick,

When the sun, a circlet of gold, sinks beneath
A brocade of mahogany earth?
Surfacing from the depths so dark and so dank,
Thirty legs upon the floor do scuttle and
One may think them but a rain droplet’s subtle tap.

But little though I do know thee
Aside from those sparse, stark materializations
From beneath a chair or bureau converting
My blood to gouts of scarlet ice and thou
Suffering fate’s convergence by the charcoal sole,

Alas, thou art always there.
Perhaps behind the swaying of a gossamer curtain
As a sinister vision born of Hell, or as the nameless
Ghost who slinks across the floor, pausing but for
A moment, then borne back to the shadows once more.

by Anthony Blackwood

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