Friday, September 27, 2013

Praying Mantis

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

All day long the mantis is there,
praying atop the tall purple coneflower,
a vestibule to other worlds

Where wise ones answer:

“It’s already been gifted to you,”
And hope we realize this soon enough.

Butterflies come.

Some brilliant and new to air, still
marveling at what has become of them,

Others thin-winged and edge-tattered,
realizing that beauty alone cannot
save a soul.

It’s never over quickly.

When the mantis strikes and takes
a great spangled fritillary into her arms,
folding it against itself so that the underwings
reveal iridescent constellations to the heavens
and the long, soft body is easy to taste,
I must resign myself to this.

I must sit with this, this pain and death
that is an
answer to a prayer,
this sound of tiny mantis mouthparts scissoring
into flesh that yet twitches and I believe
knows the agony of form and spirit.

Yes, I must.

Because this is it. Life.

And it must be looked at and sat with
and listened to long enough to realize
that crickets are chirping and crows cawing
and barred owls asking ‘Who cooks for you?’
and acknowledged that I do this too, every day.

And this is how I remind myself
what it is
to have prayers answered.

This is how I teach my heart gratitude.

©2013-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World" 
Published by Talking Waters Press 

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