By Tina May Hall
That spider had to die. I knew it was bad luck, but it was the size of a knuckle, deep in slumber, until it wasn’t, scrabbling all around the corner of the back door. After killing it, I drank the last of the tequila to calm down, and then the bad shit started. All the spider ladies from my nightmares crowded into the room, mandibles clacking, hats askew, webbed mouths spitting muffled opera. I didn’t much like it, but could have lived with their uneasy company. But then the millipede hauled itself up out of the basement, where the water stood ready for electrocuting and where all my unfertilized eggs sank. In my youth, it was scorpions we feared. And sewer cockroaches hard as baseballs, thwacking my head in the park at night, where I went to kiss my first love, and feel skin on my skin until the car battery died and the palmetto bugs drawn to the headlights found their way inside. Was there any escaping the despair of those sectioned bodies, persistent as dirty laundry, crusted dishes, menstrual blood, and those damn scuff marks on the terracotta tile that was shipped from Spain in boxes infested with silverfish? So many small exorcisms, each one a snuff of the soul, tiny flame of a life crushed by my own flesh.