Praying mantis
Robin Reynolds



Afternoons flow like warm honey,

the sun a soft scar

in such a celebration of sky,

a hush holds me sweetly

like spring and summer

have fallen in love and

cannot stop holding hands.


Even a river could lose its way

but there is no river here,

only dust swirling between tufted grass

and silence swelling wide like a secret

that everybody already knows.

Nothing rushes in these clarion

canyons, not even water.


A mantis prays,

tilting her head heavenward

and I stand captivated.


I want to believe that she stands

in the gap, holds the line.

That she drops to her impossibly

small knees and implores the universe on my behalf,

begging forgiveness

each explosive morning and again through crisp, black nights.


But, no.


If there is any justice in the world,

each of her meals is a dedication

to the gods of mother nature.

Each head torn bloodily off a sacrifice and a curse.

A plea to end mankind’s pillage and bring blessed silence

back to these hollow sunlit mornings.


I kneel

hands pressed together, head surrendered

to the heat of the dirt

and pray for the first time in my life.


The mantis tells me,

you are not lost.

You are inclining toward grace

and it is this place that will redeem you.




Robin Reynolds wanders the mountains of New Mexico with a traveling art kit and wildlife reference books in her backpack. Her favorite sound is the silence of twinkling stars.