Nothing in nature is a metaphor.
Everything is.
Stephen Dunn

And you never knew they were there
until morning fog had fallen into every spider’s web,
exposing hundreds. Remember rubbing nickels,
pencil on paper, how the buffalo came

to light? Across the wet ground, smaller than her hand,
countless just-add-water worlds show, tiny laceworks
cradled by grass blades, where hunger fuels
each speck life, each silent death.

And you take her hand in yours, walking spider morning,
interlacing the fingers she crosses when she’s nervous.
Seven larger webs shroud a red oak and its sapling,
where she laughs her mother’s laugh at your piss-poor joke,

and you remember
the artless poem you wrote at her age comparing
your father to a tree, just before he left.

Her acid reflux has passed, like swallowing
a gnat or taking water down the wrong pipe.
And she asked last week from the top bunk
how to spell anxiety for her journal.

And it’s been ten years since your pancreas failed.
And it’s been ten years since she was born.
Nothing is as planned.
Everything is.

We count the ground-mist webs,
and she sees them all revealed:
They’re stepping stones, daddy.
We walk home. Even water
can be forgotten, and the sunlight
dries everything back in place.


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