A Prayer for the Prayer
While straightening the tail end of October,
. . . .I step across my rug
. . . .of turf and see a bug
as slender as a drinking straw, a sober
pea-green, and unassuming as a nun.
. . . .Perhaps she is entreating
. . . .the god who has been heating
her body the whole summer not to run
away and strip the trees too rapidly
. . . .and leave her in a blizzard.
. . . .Now, basking like a lizard,
she doesn’t try to flee but studies me
with eyes that nearly dwarf her swivel-head.
. . . .I stroke her back. She races
. . . .away. Yet what she faces
is not my finger but the milky spread
that, by and by, will glaciate this lawn.
. . . .She stops as if she’s caught
. . . .my thought. Now on this plot
she’ll ambush flies till she and they are gone.
When will the mandibles of winter take
. . . .her spirit like some prey?
. . . .Who knows? But now, today,
she’ll revel in the sun — until I rake.
— Martin J. Elster
by Martin J. Elster, first published in The Flea.
Editor’s Note: It seems appropriate that this poem is an elegy of sorts because it first appeared in The Flea (which deserves an elegy). Rhyme and autumn seem to go together quite well.