The water whistles. A hidden hand comes down. He binds in him the kettle and the steam.
Every log cabin has its lincoln.
You can’t normally see them. They are long shadows on the wall, long and tall, coming to a peak in their stovepipe hats.
Sometimes, when the water whistles on the stove, and the lincoln’s hand reaches down, you catch a glimpse.
That’s all. Just a glimpse. From the corner of your eye.
It is 1809.
Susan is asleep. The rest of the family is out. The wind beats against the door. The big fat spider is crawling, slowly, down the cabin walls.
It is to the spider that Abraham speaks.
“There is pain,” he says. “This land is hurting.”
There is salt on Susan’s cheek.
The spider fetches a large fly corpse. It begins dragging it, with huffs and puffs, up the cabin walls. “That’s so,” he says. “And I don’t know if I’ll have enough for winter.”
It’s 1809, and even spiders are hardy folk.
“I could help,” Abraham says. “Lincolns bind things together.”
He brushes his fingers along the logs. They aren’t held together by anything. They’re just kind of stacked there. But still the cabin stands.
“A lincoln can’t leave his cabin,” the spider says. “Or you get shot. It’s a thing. Worse’n with Kennedys. Could you pass me that other fly?”
Abraham picks up the corpse, then hesitates. “What happened before guns?”
“There’ve always been guns,” the spider says.
Abraham lifts the body up.
“Can you get the wasp?”
“Too heavy,” Abraham says. “I’d have to make myself a body out of clay and sticks.”
The spider trudges down the walls.
“You’re happy here,” the spider says. “Aren’t you?”
The lincoln drifts across the walls, and binds together two stray strands of web. “Yes,” he says.
“Then why would you leave?”
“People are worthy,” the lincoln says.
There’s a silence.
“They are,” the spider agrees.
“And it makes me sad,” Abraham says, “sometimes, that nobody can see my hat.”