xxxv - the mantis and the monarch



tetrahedral pentatope

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in the spring of my hopelessness i planted a garden

planting hope to dance my eye with bee or butterfly

and why i don’t know why why should

reasons confound as much they answer


and seasons sometimes turn without we notice turning

it’s better to plant when falls the fall

but no one likes to start

beginning towards the bottom

(even if that’s where your head is headed)


waistbent guise spies’ flowers of eyes

recalled myself a whelpling pup my brood conveyed a prayer

for the mantis pray she stay

(as her kind had grown so rare)

a careful seed then planted there

and seems to’ve grown a sad garden


where hope hoped for the traveler’s respite

from the motions and the paths and the seasons of hearts out of heights

(because we gain with our give) accursed or alight

little did we know that green nun was a shadow in the home safe night


exotic and terrifying poise

flew from her home to nunnery a garden

and stalks an invader would


hiding sundrenched flowers sway

dance deadly deception

you mightn’t know if she was watching

(and you wouldn’t if you didn’t look to know)

spell caught charisma

while we joyed our eyes

our flutter orange bird

at the time, there it was in my sad sunny garden

and was the only one

(i’d hoped a pair, as his kind had grown so rare)

popping out from plant to plant to bubble in a lonely glass of celebration

had learned to leap in seasons

far from here to just now there

each stride a step

each step a stride with reasons

springs summer’s height to winter’s fall

we change to meet our changing

(and such a transformation undertaken!

turns house a home and turning)


spirit suggesting something bigger than a butterfly

like the shifting of a weathered day

he was a lunging tiger burst floats auburn autumn showers

wondrous as wonderful and regal as repose


so many once there was they draped themselves

a shimmering garment tree proud grove

flickering waves a star shone giant

who being so strong had killed to prove it could

and so often done it wore its death with the grace of should

at times i think there would be no tragedy without beauty


the monarchs are mostly gone

we’d named their home a weed

(a word for that you’d rather do without)

and proved the world is made of things imagined

(because imagining without we do, we do without)


so glad my story i was i watched my flurry visitor

light about its unwanted flower home and brood

perhaps the world is a beautiful place

sometimes it feels like we could say for right

there are rhythms we can feel

there are rhythms in our flight

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i lost some time once, its always in the last place you look for it.

Neil Gainman