My last silk worm, Madonna, is now busy at her cocoon. It is a task she seems to have embarked on reluctantly, loathe to acknowledge that maturity eventually catches up with every living thing, even a silkworm. She has been fussy, starting her cocoon again and again, so now there is a curtain of webbing along the entire side of her plastic box. It is as if she is trying to defy her instinct. But now she seems a little more focused, settling back on the tiny sucker-like crochets of her prolegs, her thorax pivoting around her abdomen as she spools out her silk.
Early yesterday, when I was cleaning out her box, I let her crawl along my clean hand. My last silkworm. She felt warm, plump, almost mammal-like, her feet lightly tapping at my skin, while her mouth touched my skin with something that seemed like insect kisses. After a few seconds I put her back into her clean box and held my hand up to the light, and where she had been was a fine trail of silk connecting one finger to the next. I am going to miss her.