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"Homo Sapiens" by Ann Quinn


Indian summer, we used to call it, but now whenever the temperature 

hits ninety in October we see the future we’ve created.

Meanwhile the spiders are casting their thick autumn webs,


one such on the line where I’m hanging sheets.

Each silken junction holds a plump amuse-bouche and I’m carefully working

around someone’s feast, but then my sheet snags the spider

and now the nickel-sized red creature is clambering down the cloth 

and I scream and try to shake her off but she drops another thread 

anchoring herself to the sheet and now I’ve mangled her web.


I shake the sheet again and hang it, hoping the spider has dropped away, or will

but hours later she is still there on the white expanse, folded like a DeLorean,

legs neatly hidden. Rather than examine her in her retreat, I find a stick


and bat her to the ground, successful this time, oh mighty me. 

From the blinded Cyclops, Odysseus stole the sheep.

I fold my laundry and look again at the mangled web,

wishing I’d captured its beauty on my phone when it was whole.


Ann Quinn is the author of the poetry chapbook Final Deployment, published by Finishing Line Press (2018). Her poetry has appeared in a wide variety of publications including Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Broadkill Review, and is included in the anthology Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and her poem “Three Years after my father’s Final Deployment to the Gulf of Tonkin” won the 2015 Bethesda Literary Arts Festival poetry contest, judged by Stanley Plumly. Ann is a graduate of the Pacific Lutheran University MFA program. She is the poetry editor for Yellow Arrow Journal and conducts writing workshops at The Writer’s Center, for Yellow Arrow, and at writer’s conferences throughout the country. She also teaches clarinet lessons and lives with her family in Catonsville, Maryland. Please visit online at

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