‘Arachnid: Flight After Deluge’ – a poem by Naima Rashid


    Arachnid: Flight After Deluge


The waters have risen;
the signal has sounded in
our skeletons
of minimal composition.
An instinct of age-old urgency
has stirred our colonies into motion.

Time has come for
the next rung of survival,
quest for the next habitable frontier –
former field, farm, meadow,
now stubble, debris,
torched by man or ravaged by nature.
It is up to us to mine this chapter deemed closed,
we have known since times of Noah and before.

Counting on the wind’s mercy,
we will cast out spools of silk,
arcs to fly upon when buffered by the wind.
It is a leap into death for most,
but still, as surely as we
brave oblivion, cast we must,
unquestioning, untroubled
by the cursed chromosome
of fear or regret,
in blind obedience
to an instinct from beyond
the origin of time.

We change the face of the world
once our work has begun.
These plains, we will coat with
sheets of self-spun gossamer,
leaving humans to search for words
at the fringes of belief,
unable to word their surprise
without giving it sheen of symbol or sublime.
Where we take flight, they see balloons and kites,
where we land, it is always rain of a novel kind.

Used to seeing us at the level of their feet,
they are troubled when we take to the skies.
If an ocean wind slaps us against a sail,
the sailors run away in fright.
A couple who drove to the forest
to steal a first kiss froze is paralyzed
when the car beams light up
taffy trees like ghostly popsicles.

As surely as we occupy,
when the time is right,
we relent,
until the rhythm of nature
beckons those next in line.


Naima Rashid

About Naima Rashid

Naima Rashid is a writer, poet, and translator. Her first book was 'Defiance of the Rose' (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her writings have appeared in Asymptote, The Scores, Lucy Writers Platform, Visual Verse and many other places online and in print. She was long-listed for the National Poetry Competition 2019. Her forthcoming works include a translation of the Urdu novel 'Naulakhi Kothi' by Ali Akbar Natiq (Penguin Random House India 2022), and her own fiction and poetry. Her website is www.naimarashid.com.