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Content Warning: mental health, spiders

Nikki Dudley – After the scream/wonder

is more than just fear is it fear

[where did the fear grow from?] I spent hours

in the garden feeding you insects but the scream tore

through your mind says you’re in danger from spiders

                          no going back [after the scream]

you might have a fear of both spiders and spiderwebs

[or just spiders individually]

I filled those webs with insects and watched them judder

I waited for you to arrive then the scream echoed

through time if you grew up with parents or other loved ones

who had an intense fear of spiders you may

be at an increased risk [of developing the same fears]

are we afraid because you saw fear this fear and overestimation

of encountering spiders - can cause physical symptoms

           [what would it do to me?] can I go back

to the quiet interaction the waiting for the moment

[the wonder?]


while Spider-Man won’t necessarily help you

cure your arachnophobia, seeing spiders in such a positive context

could be a start [or an end to this]

Some text taken from:

Best viewed on desktop, please also find a PDF file available to download here.

Nikki Dudley is managing editor of streetcake magazine and also runs the streetcake writing prize and MumWrite. She has a chapbook and collection with KFS. Her pamphlet 'I'd better let you go' and collection 'Fanny B. Mine' are out with Beir Bua Press. She is the winner of the Virginia Prize 2020 and her second novel, Volta was published in May 2021. Her website is:

Artwork: Olga – House 2

Olga makes art.

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