Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spoon River Middle School: 31

Billy Belfry

Free Writing

Everyone says I’m crazy,
says stuff like,
“That Belfry kid,
he’s crazy!
He’s really crazy!”

there are some things,
a few things,
not many things, really,
but some things
that might make people,
some people, anyway,
make them stop.
And wonder.

Like in second grade,
that time I ate a spider.
It wasn’t a big hairy one,

just one of those little ones
you can sometimes catch
on the ceiling of your room,
if you’re quick
(like me)
and not afraid
(like me).

So I took him to school,
the spider, that is,
and when the teacher said,
“It’s snack time,”
and everyone else brought out
Twinkies and Snickers and Oreos
and Gummy Bears and Fruit Roll-Ups
and pretzels and chips and powdered donuts
and juice boxes and graham crackers,
and some had apples and carrots
and soy milk (you think I’m crazy!)
their moms made them bring,
I took out this tiny Tupperware thing,
the smallest they make,
turned it over,
tapped it on the bottom,
till the spider
dropped into the palm of my hand.

By then,
everyone around me was watching,
the teacher was saying,
“Billy, is that—?”
The spider was kind of groggy—
that Tupperware keeps out the air, you know—
does a good job of that—
so he wasn’t moving too fast.

And so I whacked the palm of my hand
against my mouth,
felt the spider land
in the back of my throat.
And I swallowed him before he could even think about him running along my tongue and

Everyone was yelling stuff:
“Sick!”  “Gross!”
“Billy’s crazy!”

But I never said anything bad
about their snacks!
All that sugar and fat—
they’re not good for you.
Not good to you.
But a spider, you know—
his poofy little body,
all eight legs of him—
is one hundred percent
Pure Protein!

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