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Mantis

It’s been years

since we’ve seen one,

and the wait

was all for naught—


its head raised

haughtily,

raptorial arms

held far apart,


not together

in supplication,

not in grovel

to a God,

an Abrahamic

Deity

who supposedly

made its blueprint,


in the burst

of a quantum blink,

along with all the locusts

and big-eyed bugs,


ones who later devoured

Pharoah’s fields,

doing whatever

Yahweh asked,


but let’s dispense with

all the hoppers

in the grass,

get back to this

apostate

who isn’t on its knees,


you say it’s an

Atheist, the mantis

who balks

at prayer,

who watched its offspring

eaten alive,


while humbly

bowed in reverence

to its Maker,


pled for mercy

for its young ,

to make the hunter

much less hungry,

find a way to slice

its viscous web,


reminded of the

time

its mate was snatched

by a thrush’s beak,

a bird’s Kaddish

from the highest branch


ignored

by the lobes of the Lord,

the morning

in which its hatchlings

had all fallen to the ground,


consumed by an infidel,


a hyena perhaps, one who

merely chuckles

at the thought, that


the couturier

of fang and claw

will yield

and intervene,


make the trophic

ledger even, admit

to a blatant flaw

in His design,


that Eden

never happened,

that Darwin

had it right,

that life is just

a bitter work-in-

progress,


and when asked

by His disciples

why things are

the way they are,


He’ll simply shrug ,

say none of us

understand,

that perfection

can’t be rushed,


will be non-

negotiable,

in that distant,

utopian moment


when a spider

sucks on nectar

instead of blood,


when all of us on the Earth

will give His tired ears a break,

allow Him to hear

the dawning lilt

of starlings much in love.




Andreas Gripp

November 6, 2023

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