As a child I operated under
the misconception that
it was ‘preying’ mantis
rather than ‘praying’ mantis.
And I get why the gesture
is used in the name,
they do have a rather invocative stance,
but they are so associated in my mind
with hunting and killing—
that preying seemed/seems apt still.
And isn’t the mantis a perfect pairing
of preying and prayer? That they are
naturally pious in the cannibalization
of each other, that their prayers
are often answered in blood—
from hummingbirds, mostly.