The ants, which carry everything away
Will not approach the mantis on my steps.
They drift away like metal filings
From the wrong pole of death’s magnet.
They will carry everything away
But not this green stillness.
It is no less patient in emptiness.
It does not have the posture
Of dead things ready for the ground
To reclaim it. Nothing with wings
Descends to dissemble it.
Its power, like a prayer flag,
Is as a vessel separate
From intention. I leave it on the step
And walk, as the needs of the day
Assemble like ants around me.