in which we are spiders aboard the international space station by Ashley Cline

on earth, golden silk orb-weavers build asymmetrical webs, with the hub—or center—
positioned towards the upper edge. & it is here that they sit & wait, so that when their
prey does arrive, they might use gravity to pounce & kill, quickly. in 2011, these spiders
were sent to space. & scientists aboard the International Space Station discovered that,
despite the existence of little gravity, they were capable of building earth-like webs. it
seems the spiders, when faced with the pull of nothing much at all, used light as their
proxy, & built towards it. 

          

death is a story for the living / her characters all familiar,
it is a kindness when they arrive / in their proper fashions

& give us something to do with our hands / give us a reason
to tie our tongues to nostalgia / & call our friends by names 

we gave them in other lives / & we will laugh then, in these
moments, because that is what a good story does / it makes

us want to feel the air leave our lungs / for reasons that a black
hole cannot begin to understand—& i cannot / begin to explain

a singular earth to anyone but you / or, the pull something as
simple as your hand in mine has on the stars / such curious

animals, after all / reversing their redshift for a crumb of
warmth or / gossip or whatever songs dark matter might be

singing at the place / where life & death meet. they say it’s
all relative, like all good stories / they say we simple things

shouldn’t worry of what’s coming next / but we bend
towards light, you & i / so that even gravity has no

hold, here.


An avid introvert, full-time carbon-based life-form and pop music scholar, Ashley Cline crash-landed in south Jersey some time ago and still calls that strange land home. Her poetry has appeared in 404 Ink, Landlocked Magazine, and Parentheses Journal—among others—and her debut chapbook, “& watch how easily the jaw sings of god,” is available now (Glass Poetry Press, 2021). Once, in the summer of 2019, she crowd-surfed an inflatable sword to Carly Rae Jepsen, and her best at all-you-can-eat sushi is 5 rolls in 11 minutes. She is much too Online for her own good. Twitter: @the_Cline. Instagram: @clineclinecline.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.