Ghost Mantis

It was December, and the last days were curling up
the dead cells fell all over the desert soil; a new was on
its way. The grasses yellow as sharp as
needles pierced into the earth, the splitting
sound emptied the nearby anthill, the occupants
were soon taken in by a lightning-stricken tree. We had
burnt our lips, reading dossiers against the grain, this was
since the time the god waved the magic wand. A king
mantis who owned a huge garden of amorphophallus
lent access only to ghost mantis. This was more or less
about three thousand a hundred and twenty-four days ago,
when a hedgehog was ousted. A sapient, studied
of them all with reading glasses on his nose walked
downhill from the primeval forest, near the biped’s
retirement home: Chausath Yogini temple. He prayed in
silence, worked in deeper silence. Now the Mantis king
keeps a yashtimadhu under his tongue and smiles.
One fine day, he knew he had a therapy for the loafing
army of mantis. He renovated a reliquary for them all.
While lustration scrubbed them off their sins and scars,
he let them multiply into e-mantis in his garden
of amorphophallus. For the days to arrive, they had
rote learnt the truth of a universal visitation of a mantis
of all mantes who was here to run their world
for as many days as fallible’s world thrived: one must

Author of two collections of poems, Purabi Bhattacharya lives and works in Gujarat. She also reviews books for the literary e-journal Muse India.

Featured image: Tao Yuan / Unsplash