Trade in Time of War
One year has passed and we have taken many casualties. I have called to my ranks the blind seers, the warrior seamstresses, the early nationalists, and those who are best at repair.
I say, “Thanks for being here and remember to stay hydrated. We will be meeting the wolf spiders at midnight. They will be with the grasshoppers and the thrips. They will come in peace.”
One of the seamstresses asks from the back, “What the hell can the thrips possibly give us?” Others echo, “Yes!” and rumbling is heard from the crowd.
“The wolf spiders think them fit to attend the meeting,” I say, “And we need the night vision of the wolf spiders. Their stellar eyesight is unparalleled among the insects remaining. The wolf spiders have made a truce with the grasshoppers and they need our flies, our crickets.” Heads nod, and the blind seers lift up the bags of crickets in succession.
At midnight, the sides gather. The leader of the wolf spiders, majestic, eight-eyed, says, “You know, we usually hunt alone. In our valley, we are running out of prey. We cannot afford to eat the grasshoppers because we need to control the foliage.”
I lift my torch for better light: “And you know we cannot afford to carry on without better vision in our nights.”
The blind men and women bring thirteen bushels of crickets and flies to us, set them in front of the spiders. The leader wolf spider calls three smaller wolf spiders to the front. “These are three of my best, I promise you,” he says to me.
The wolf spiders then turn to leave. I venture, “Honorable leader, why, may I ask, did you bring the thrips with you tonight?” Two of the leader’s eyes, large and visible because of the flame, flicker, “We have taken interest in mercy in these dark times.”
Nicholas Reiner is an American poet of Mexican heritage. His work appears or is forthcoming in Spillway, Aquifer, Fourteen Hills, Connotation Press, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. He holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of California, Irvine, where he completed an MFA. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and daughter.