Web of Causation

Spiders are living in the bathtub
Sharecroppers harvesting what they can
Flies mostly judging by the black specks in my otherwise pure white
ceramic tub I don’t use for fear of disrupting the little ecosystem
established in my absence.

It’s a struggle for survival and the spiders are winning.

The lesson here, if my scientific colleagues are right, is that these webs, these delicate structures so perfectly suited for fly farming are good models for how the world of diseases and causes are organized. Webs of causation they’re called, connecting everything to everything, causes to their effects.

But I must confess that the picture seems wrong
And like them I don’t see the spider in the model
He doesn’t have that sort of web.

His lair is a sticky sweet cause of death itself. The perfect end for botched science, for the abomination crying, help me, help me please, as I walk by, oblivious, on my way to the other bathroom and a clean tub.

Dr. Weed is a physician-epidemiologist now retired from the National Cancer Institute. Epidemiology is the study of the causes of diseases. The "web of causation" is one theory for how causes and their effects are related. I am not convinced.


Rubor Participation:
2021 Essay, "Web of Causation"