Devil Worship

William Pruitt

The spider swings on a strand from a branch
too far to tell. The great tree of midsummer
abides the high breeze from its abysmal depths.
What we know used to be what we saw, 

and what we believed was what we couldn’t see, until 
our ability to craft a lens took us past appearances 
and accumulated indulgences crumbled our 
hand-hewn cathedral, as schismed voices 

shattered the stained glass. So up is down, 
down up, and all this righteous literal certainty
is a shot glass turned over long ago. 
Would it have made a difference if the oracle

had not been on the take? Doesn’t matter, she’s 
gone, slid right out along with the whole 
Judeo Christian thing, replaced by the realtor/
meteorologist, and guess what? The forecast 

is sunny, except for that newly discovered 
event horizon in our neighborhood,
Soon we’ll bow down with fear and believe 
sparrows’ terror nesting in this rickety Ferris wheel 

of a zodiac, and a new Constantine will stamp 
a magic oval in the sky with his approval
proving again that authority 
is the best form of understanding,

doing everything he can to make us forget the stations 
of the cross, which are right here, where Buddha 
sat, where locust pods shade each other in the rising 
sun, where spider has climbed too high for us to see.


William Pruitt is a poet, fiction writer and storyteller, and an Assistant Editor with Narrative Magazine. He has published poems in such places as Ploughshares,, Otis Nebula, the Tipton Poetry Journal, Leaping Clear, and Cottonwood; two chapbooks with White Pine (Ravine Street) and FootHills (Bold Cities and Golden Plains); and the self-published Walking Home from the Eastman House.  His short stories have appeared in Crack of the Spine Literary Magazine, Midway, Indiana Voice Journal, Hypertext, He has told stories in numerous places in Rochester and upstate New York, including the National Women’s Hall of Fame.