"Excuse me," said the spider to the shoe,
"Before you stamp, before you stomp
I have something vital to ask of you:
"I know I'm scary, I'm a dreadful sight
with legs that skitter hither and thither
and my many eyes that stare into the night.
"But tell me, truthfully: am I the worst?
Of the things that creep while you're asleep
the stuff of nightmares, those beasts accursed.
"No, not some imaginary monsters," the spider said,
"They live! They're alive!
They are real as your nose and the hairs on your head.
"Am I worse than the mosquito that bites?
The bumps that itch when you reach to scratch?
I keep him from biting your ear when you sleep at night.
"Am I worse than the termites that crawl in the wood
and eat and eat as if on repeat?
If I weren't around? Eat the whole house, they would!
"Am I worse than those buzzing black flies?
How very rude that they ruin your food!
If it weren't for me, you'd be eating maggotberry pies!
"Am I worse than the moth that eats your things,
All your shirts bare, and even... your underwear?
Let's say I were gone; would you want to wear strings?
"So if you still want me gone... well, then I say:
-Sniff!- Go ahead! Squish 'till I'm dead!
"If you'd rather have me stay... please... let me go my way."