Tolstoy and the Spider
Moscow is burning.
Pierre sets out to kill Napoleon
and instead rescues a child.
Thus Tolstoy came today
to lift this spider in his large hand
and carry her free.
Now a cricket approaches the spider
set down inside her new story,
one hind leg missing.
The insects touch, a decision is made,
each moves away from the other
as if two exhausted and unprovisioned armies,
as if two planets passing out of conjunction,
or two royal courts in procession,
neither noticing the other go by.
Or like my own two legs:
their narrow lifetime of coming together and parting.
A story travels in one direction only,
no matter how often
it tries to turn north, south, east, west, back.
From Five Points Vol. 13.3