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To you this tale might sound absurd
But please believe it word for word
I do not tease or write in jest
To which my other posts attest.

Now, my father did not think it strange
Nor did I fear he was deranged
His choice of pets was never lurid
Be it toothy possum or baby bird.

I was not prepared enough you see
For his choice in company
Because what really were the chances
That he’d bring home a praying mantis?

He found him on a wet sidewalk
On a dark and stormy night
He always had this soft spot
For creatures in bad plight.

He told me in Virginia
It’s illegal upon this bug to tread
If you did you would be fined
Fifty dollars in the red.

And so I never could be very certain
Of where the mantis could be lurking
On the curtain softly snoozing
Or on the mantle just a cruising.

And if I ever had the notion
I’d lift him up in one slow motion
And for a minute we would play
Then he’d get bored and walk away.

He’d often catch you unaware
With his pale green eyes and empty stare
But no matter how much we’d feed him
He’d stalk us while we were busy eating.

And if Dad saw him getting thinner
He’d go outside and get him dinner
A few dead ants or some fat fly
He did not want his pet to die.

Now I can say without a lie
I kind of liked the little guy
Where he roamed I did not care
As long as it wasn’t in my hair.

We did not mourn, we did not cry
The day we had to say goodbye
But dad had seen another mantis
Crawling around his other plantis

And thought that it was best to free
His pet to start a family
And with a very gentle touch
He placed him on the lilac bush.

First he basked warm in the light
Then quickly scampered out of sight
In closing I will happily share
That his descendants are still live there.

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