Mary Walker, "Facing", monoprint/woodcut, 8 x 11 inches, 2003.

Margo Berdeshevsky

                                         OR AUTUMNAL

Color rising to the temples 
like a shy woman ahead of her music 
lifting her skirt to avoid a scorpion  

a tail of six segments,                                     the last—cradling the sting.
Parthenogenic reproduction starts following a final
moult to maturity                                      continuing—

the scorpion's exoskeleton is thick  
protection,                          two eyes on
his crown, two to five pairs, to stud his frontal corners, 

how far back and how far front—for 
the soil he dances in
Equinoctial. Not the end of a world but summer’s
bright body stilling, until a day and a night equate.       

What is it I don't know about dying?
What is it I don't know about predatory
arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones
within the class Arachnida?

Courtship’s breath             starts with “Promenade à deux.”
A male grasping her pedipalps with his own, the pair
perform — Dancing, darling, dancing  

They will separate,             the male will retreat most
likely to avoid being cannibalized by the femme, sexual
cannibalism is infrequent with scorpions, all 

possess venom, all 
use it to kill or paralyze their stilled darling—   
so that it can be eaten.             Fast-acting.             Effective  
capture. The “otherfucker.” Before the winter fire,

                                                          a gorgeous fall. 

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