I’ve read Jonathan Edwards — about his sinners,
his sermonizing about the spider getting hung,
the flames unless you damn well keep the faith.
And have also read EB’s Charlotte’s Web and about
how she helps everyone to happy endings except herself.
Because she’s dying, unselfishly, believing cycles.

I like Charlotte better than Jonathan
to read to children or grand children,
with all their questions without answers,
at least the ones I might think of —
PhD’s are not enough or pill prescriptions
when we know some one is lying there, stroked.

But words help, sermons even maybe.
We grasp at any straws, trying at truth.

Today in our kitchen I had a chance to play at god
with a tiny arachnid, yellow green, strolling along
my arm, minuscule among my hirsute forests
like some questing knight or demoiselle in search.

This tiny one needs help and I give it,
holding out the very tip of the pencil I’m writing with,
which the spider grasps and I watch it swing
its silken way to safety, helped but not helped.

I would not threaten much less kill her
and don’t even wonder whether EB’s way
is better than Jonathan’s. I know what’s best.
On the other hand, imagining me (or you) as god
is a lot easier than being God. Ask them both.