Tag Archives: mantis

Early Summer Evening


Early Summer Evening

After the rain I walk around the peony plants.
The praying mantises stand on the leaves,

Dozens of them, like vacationers in a hotel
On their balconies. Looking out at a place

They have never seen before but will master.
Nobody so much at glances at the plants

Once the flowers are gone but I do.
To me it feels like I am growing them.

They are my flowers. Maybe God feels like this:
He cannot save a single one of us from what

Will prey on us or what we ourselves will maim
Or kill but he can watch us change and grow.

Inside the house there are no stars. You can’t
Throw a wish far enough away that its ricochet

Will not eventually get you. In the dark, after
The rain, the candles like mute trees.

In the silence, after the brief flare of sulfur,
You can hear fire chew a matchstick.

Introduction to those beneath the flowers


Introduction to those beneath the flowers

The ceiling fan on a May night
A watch that lost its hours

The year was a broken bone
And its slow mending

Like the peonies after being cut
To the ground rise up

And when no one is looking
Distracted by the growth and green

And the pink and white and red petals littering
The sidewalk and the heat

Rising suddenly they are there the praying
mantis and her thousand sisters

Each poised like a timeless statue
On a leaf that didn’t exist a month before

October 13 [Book of October]

October 13

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.