Monday, October 28, 2013

Daily Prompt: The Bank of Being

Driving through a weary neighborhood of leaning porches and shattered glass, I was startled to find a preying mantis clinging to my windshield. In the yard I sometimes find the new ones, small and pale as a fingernail. This one was bright green, long as an unsharpened pencil.

I stopped the car in a gutter full of trash. I hoped to coax the creature to an envelope and transfer it to a shrub. When I leaned in with the paper, the insect jumped to the meaty part of the palm of my hand and snapped on with its six legs. It held as I raised my arm and extended it, taking in the preying mantis' architecture. 

We walked together to the sidewalk. When I stepped onto the curb, the insect jumped to a utility pole. I felt charmed to have been so close to a living thing so different from me, as if extended for a moment into another realm, a science fiction world of woman-bug. And I felt sad. The creature was far from wherever it had started and was not going back. 

The poem I attempted after this experience has never worked quite right, in spite of revisions. (That happens.) But taking the time to write it marked the surprise of discovery, investigation, release. Among the dilapidated buildings divided and divided again into smaller units, the dirt patch front yards of busted up toys, I met a new thing. Attempting a poem completed the incident. It’s as if each experience is a gold coin, and taking time to make a poem  (even a failed one) of it makes a deposit in the vault of the Bank of Being.

Daily Prompt: When you see something that fascinates you, especially something small, jot down some lines. Honor the experience by taking a few moments to reflect. 

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