A Prayer for the Prayer

by Martin Elster

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.