Praying Mantis

This morning / a praying mantis— / I call her Virgie— / climbed ...

By Jeff Reid

This morning
a praying mantis—
I call her Virgie—

into the window box—between the begonias and pansies—
and began to repent.
She must be a Pentecostal
because she spoke in tongues.

A band of ladybugs—
curious little creatures they are—
climbed up the garden trellis
and watched in disbelief.

Each Easter as a child,
dressed in my best blue suit,
I would walk hand in hand
with Grandma to the little

church across the road from her house,
Weaving our way through the clusters
of daffodils and grape hyacinths
that besieged the cobblestone path.

“Ma ne ah ne ta la ah ka wa,”
Grandma would chant,
her eyes closed,
arms reaching for the heavens,

I would sit up straight in one of the tired wooden pews
and flip through the thin pages of the Bible,
pretending to understand
the peculiar world around me.

Jeff Reid works as a freelance photographer and journalist at Smith Mountain Lake. Reid majored in English literature and creative writing at Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College) and Boston University.

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