after Robert Hooke, Micrographia (1665)
A warm wall, heavy leaves, hard green grapes
and a cluster of berries
spun out of cobweb.
They were packed with brown roe, or, later,
an anarchy of hatchlings,
scarce larger than the eggs they once were,
two eye-dots on a body
the shape of an egg.
I counted nine scales at the rear end,
two whiskers, a two-pronged tail
six legs underneath.
Though I shut some in a box, thinking
they might become something else,
they grew but little,
leaving me with these wisps of knowledge,
like the filaments that fall
sometimes from the air,
which may be the shed fibres of clouds
or thrums of unfinished web.
I cannot join them.