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The Creature in the Weeds

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

The brightest thing in my office is my computer screen, so I leave to chase the sun. I tuck my phone in my pocket and click-click-click on the greenway in my boots. The drone of the nearby interstate bridge fades. Two bicyclists pass; I look away, and down, at the overgrowth lining the river. The goats come every year to strip the steep bank of brush but not spiders, which scurry in shadows of swaying grass. I’ve been away much too long. Ahead on the greenway there’s a center mass, brown, an unconcealed carnivore too far from home. I extend my hand to remove it from the path and wait. The mantis is massive, the abdomen pronounced, perhaps a pregnant female. She twists her head and stares at me with clouded eyes, then proceeds cautiously onto my skin, each movement meditated and guided by a constant shift of weight; balance. Heavy, she crawls over my wrist toward my shoulder and pauses to face the path. Something catches her attention, so she unfolds her wings and prances to the ground. I sit with her as she climbs a blade of grass, rotates her head, bends her body, moves her piercing jaws. This is the meaning I often fail to find; it hides in the corners of novelty, of breaking routine, and it begs only one thing—to come back, again and again.

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