sunset with insect (20161016)

the mantis
caught in my flashlight beam
gold and long as a finger

always our habit
to move everything to safety
–worms after the rain
or a leaking sprinkler
–spiders in the tub
–even yelling at the squirrels
/my mortal enemies/
tarrying in the street

i put my hand down
on the swidewalk
he needs a nudge but crawls onto
the meaty part of my index finger

this elicits a response
from a walker
heading in the other direction
they’re good luck, he says
and i’ve heard it’s illegal to kill them

i find a bush
hard to tell what it is
in the dark
and offer him his escape

he wraps himself around me
like a promise ring
maybe he likes the warmth
or he’s tired of all that walking
or maybe he’s just lonely

but i coax him off
onto the relative safety of the plant

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