In a seemingly small act, poet Rudy Francisco shines the light
of compassionate awareness on what we fearfully name “other.”

after Nikki Giovanni

She asked me to kill the spider
Instead, I got the most
peaceful weapons I can find

I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away

If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,

I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
of mercy.

Rudy Francisco from Helium

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Bonus poem by Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am


— Nikki Giovanni, from Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid

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