The Spider and the Spray Can Man - Donal Mahoney

He's my buddy, this tiny spider
sitting in his web, not moving,
waiting for a fly that never comes.

The problem is, he spun his web
in a bathroom on the 30th floor
of an office building 

where in 20 years I've never
seen a fly  or other insect
never mind a spider.

The man from pest control 
comes after hours
and sprays in silence.

We call him Spray Can Man,
He has "Butch" on his shirt 
and creases in his pants 

pressed by a wife who packs 
hearty lunches, I suspect.
I've watched Spray Can Man 

twenty years and never heard 
him speak to anyone working 
overtime in a little cubicle. 

Years ago we'd say hello to him  
just like Trash Can Man and Mop Lady.
I said "Merry Christmas" to him once 

and Spray Can Man never looked up.
He kept looking down, like an anteater, 
spraying one baseboard after another.

When it comes to insects,
Spray Can Man is a serial killer. 
Yet the spider in the bathroom 

has escaped his gaze and lives on
despite the lack of any flies to eat.
The spider doesn't know death's

his destination even though 
I know some day soon
his life will be swept away,

perhaps by execution if 
one of my fellow workers
sees him waiting for a fly 

or if Spray Can Man spots him.
This spider will discover 
life is just a belch in time 

as I'll find out too some day.
If I'm wrong about what's to come, 

I'll have missed a lot of fun.

- - -

Nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/