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Sandy Solomon: Praying Mantis

Brown twig with a scored, russet skirt of wings,

you cling to the side of the garbage can

where the lid fits, and, except for a slight twitch

of your pointed mandible, hold wholly still.

When you finally move, it’s just to shift

your strandlike, green back legs

one at a time, each leg tapping to find

the next foothold, the way a blind man tests

with his stick, seeming to feel your way

towards a next meal that is nowhere evident.

Unlike the lion as it inches through the grass,

for you the hunt is never in pursuit

but in opportunity—what comes to you

as you wait, forearms set for the next

approaching life: bluebottle, fruit,

even horseflies might do if only they’d appear,

swoop down and so, by accident, choose you,

drawn by the stench of refuse—coffee grounds,

rinds, all the sticky, fleshy things.

How can you stand the suspense?

I cannot stand the suspense, and yet

as the morning sun moves imperceptibly forward,

I sit on the piled newspapers I came to throw away,

I sit at your feet, so stilled that in time

the air breaks into hums of many registers

as it swirls and startles and catches with flies.


Copyright 1996 Sandy Solomon. From Pears, Lake, Sun (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996).

Sandy Solomon teaches at Vanderbilt University.

Praying mantis (source: Treehugger)

One comment on “Sandy Solomon: Praying Mantis

  1. justblog07
    March 28, 2022

    What a description.👏👏

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2022 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , .

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