Howard Firkin
The X waits like a spider in the dark
recesses of an alphabet she wants
to head: a signature of ignorance,
a blight, infecting any spot she marks,
a symbol of my every damn mistake.
She knits her filthy skeins because she must
convince herself and friends she’s trapping game.
If only she could work out who’s to blame:
her most elaborate webs collect most dust,
and no one gives her what she says she’ll take.

Suspended venom in a bulb of flesh—
her toxins all that she can call her own—
she waits for someone to embrace her mesh
of sticky lies, and prove she’s not alone.