When I first wrote this story as prose, it was 1,000 words. The next day I followed a poetry prompt to write a poem that is one sentence, 14 lines, and about 100 words. Ninety percent shorter is usually better.


When we saw the spider sitting above the doorframe

two of us thought it was harmless

but you knew it had to be harmful because it was a spider

only I knew better because I’ve known lots of spiders

and this one looked kind of like Charlotte,

so I got the broom

knocked it to the floor

then, instead of smashing it,

I coaxed it

down the hall, gently sweeping and whispering,

“this way, baby, c’mon, baby, almost there”

until the spider—dazed—walked out the front door

into the dark dirt and later, when I looked it up,

I found out it was venomous after all.