Green Spider Tattoo
What is the procedure for when friends die
and you need to manipulate words? Divest
yourself of secrets. I knew a guy who nearly
died working a chainsaw from a tree-top.
One minute he is pruning a large branch,
and the next, he misses the artery in his leg
by half an inch. Some people are just lucky,
I guess. It’s all scratch-card wins, bi-lateral
symmetry, and evolutionary fitness. Beauty
is an advert for good genes. How does it
do it? I mean nature. All that math. X and
Y chromozones. Some three billion DNA
bases the same in most people. It sounds
tiring. Gaia sitting there, with her internal
calculator going all the time, not paying
attention to what the kids are doing. One
opens a soup kitchen. Another vandalizes
the post-office, stealing all the Christmas
Card money, and social security checks.
How many kids can you fit in the back
of a police car? Seven. When your father
is a police man, he does a puppet-show
in front of your class in Grade three.
Chaperones all your dances in high school.
He whispers the sins of a man walking
on a sidewalk in your ear as you drive home
together one day. It is like being God.
I look at my students and the wreckage
inside them is hidden. One boy I taught
killed another boy with a machete. I wish
I made that up. He had a green spider tattoo
on the back of his neck. I wish it forever.
By Chris Banks