Reading the Traces

Cobwebs in the basement—
where are the cobs that spin them?
Intriguing traces agitate the mind’s
ineluctable metonymy,
like fingerprints of an alien presence.

They are the finest threads of reality,
hanging between joist and brick,
between bare bulb and copper pipe—
easily ignored or brushed aside
as being in the way, not the way itself.

When he discovers that a cope
is a spider in Middle Dutch,
this only adds a learned label
to perception’s oldest riddle,
a long filament back to ancestors
just as curious, just as mystified.