The websites about animals and wildlife
I frequently visited
were still in the early stages of design,
with solid background colors,
representative of leaves and fertile jungles where wild beasts and varmint lurked.
These sites typically identified the scientific names of populations and eating patterns of the beasts and butterflies that shared
habitats of a bright green hue.
Not quite neon,
The kind of green held in a child’s dirty hands.
Praying mantis green.
In first grade.
I did a project about praying mantises
(That’s the plural term).
I learned that they symbolize good fortune in china,
And are “masters of camouflage” the sites clichéd in unison.
They are also carnivores,
This made them a creature to be respected.
I told my classmates
ardent in the knowledge I discovered on a website.
Not a kids’ workbook.
This made me a creature to be respected.
That summer the kids I played with outside killed a praying mantis.
They were huddled around his frail exoskeleton like elephants around a water hole.
It was a similar green as the mediocre color on the animal sites.
I want so badly for this recollection to mean that although it was dead
It was praying for me.
That is why his green echoed among the hands
Of wild children.
I want that I buried him to mean that I am tenderer
than green grass
blue summer bruises
and the exoskeleton of a Mantodea.