As we gather among grass blades,
sharpness tall in a smaller world,
I could take up a collection plate
but unfortunately it would rattle
with ladybugs, like speckled coins,
or maybe flies or carapaced sinners
with wings flimsy-thin as currency.
“How divine,” the mantis might say
in that mandibled mouth’s raspy voice
and look at me with those big eyes,
open so wide as if to suggest sarcasm.
My eyes won’t become compounded
despite all the splendor spoken about,
and the mantis keeps praying anyway.
I ask: Pray, mantis, what do you hear
when you call out to the Almighty?
Do you ponder treatises comparing
eternal law against natural law?
Can angels even hear the whispers
when one is so low to the ground?
Are you tired of praypreyprayprey?
Then it begins to rain; the mantis
moves and prays still for shelter.
I seek a dry haven, but the mantis
points out that while I am sprinkled,
this smaller world suffers a deluge.
I am reminded of a time when my father
lay ill, and in a tear glistening at the corner
crease of his eye, I watched a gnat drown.
Cover image by Valery Rapovets