The black widow weaves silk web
Irregular messy hexagons step by step,
With red hourglass etched on her abdomen
She sleeps upside down, a warning acumen.
She waits, senses the insects caught,
Not with her eight eyes but movement distraught.
On the Joshua tree, in the Spider Throng,
She enjoys the queendom with her pedipalp prongs!
Feasts of Beetles, Grasshoppers, and Caterpillars
But the honeypot ants serve her favorite dinner.
The grave of the ants lay near its roots
They abandoned the tree for her deadly attributes
The Queen Ant had flown away,
To build a Colony, new but stray.
Joshua Tree was their ancestral home,
Where their collective memories roam.
But, the tree was renamed as Spider Throng
Its earlier name was Ant Colony Cong.
The black widow had also killed her mate,
And stored his sperm to breed and decimate.
Days passed by, the Ant Colony mushroomed,
But the Queen Ant grew pale with a halo of gloom.
The workers encircled her all day long
To hear the story of Spider Throng
“That’s our real home, never forget!
Our ancestors toiled their blood and sweat.”
She choked, but then a worker spoke,
“It’s time for revenge, let’s convoke
We can’t fight with our abdomen swollen,
Befriend the Fire Ants for each ounce of honey stolen.”
The black widow spider missed the honeypots,
She craved for them while weaving the knots.
She had now thousands of eggs in the sacs
Protective mother was aware of probable attacks.
Slow and Vigilant Fire Ants were summoned
The Queen Ant said “Supply of honey will be doubled.
It’s time that you help us gain our territory
Destroy her eggs and fetch us our lost glory.”
The Fire Ants made a half mile long trail,
And reached near the Joshua Tree – hungry and frail.
They surrounded the tree from all sides,
The black widow spider’s egg sacs lie hidden inside
Tiny little holes near the roots.
Alas! They couldn’t survive the brutes.
The black widow came running down,
Jumped and killed thrice with her venomous frown.
But the Fire Ants were not to be afraid,
They tore the sac and distributed the raid.
Fed and fought the black widow in numbers,
She had to flee to disappear in the rocks-umber.
The Fire Ants rejoiced, and the honeypots came soon,
They fed on honey all night in the moon,
Spider Throng was again Ant Colony Cong.
The song of victory intensified all day long.
The black widow could hear it behind the rocks,
There she met the Ant Spider – quite unorthodox.
The Ant Spider had a unique talent of mimicry,
She could enter the Ant Colony without any gimmickry.
The black widow asked the Ant Spider
“Will you help me, sister?” and sat beside her.
“I want the queen ant, and the queendom will be ours-
We will share the dying ants’ sumptuous meal after-hours.”
“I’ll punish” her tone was genuinely audacious
She was about to commence a journey malicious
The Ant Spider joined the family of Fire Ants
No one could recognize her tactical advance.
She would touch the ant’s antennae with her front leg
And offer the dead ants as if she was high on honey-keg.
One afternoon, when the ants were lazy
The Queen Ant was resting in the periphery.
The Ant Spider attacked and chained her in the silk web
The black widow injected her venom in the Queen’s leg.
She was dragged unconscious to the rock-umber
The two spiders prepared her for the final slumber.
“Watch! Your clans die without you! O, Queen!
The Fire Ants are now a sumptuous meal glean.”
The black widow said “Your friendship with Fire Ants
Was stronger than our silks tensile strength,
But even more lethal than my venom (the Ant Spider she commends)
Was an enemy disguised as your friend.”
Himanshu Ranjan lives in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. He is a poet and a Young India Fellow. His anthology is titled ’36 Love Stories’