A last mantis sheds his skin, tissue thin parchment
caught on drying milkweed.

Just yesterday, he knelt at road’s edge,
top heavy Queen Anne’s lace
as witness.

Sing the old hymns,
clean the hearth,
prepare your succulent roast.

The Sierra Nevada’s receive a first snow.
The Washoe gather piñon nuts and cure rabbit pelts.

Japanese maple’s tender stars hug
the storm door. With care, I sweep away crinkled leaves.

Cricket time, his last song, a prelude;
the silent female listens.