My Mantis and Me

“…I leash a mantis to my big toe
like a toe tag on a cadaver in a morgue…”

My Mantis and Me

Before sleep, I leash a mantis to my big toe,
like a toe tag on a cadaver in a morgue.

He’s the only insect who can,
with wet round eyes and forearms

employed as guillotines in constant
prayer, twist his heart-shaped head

to see those nasty little bed bugs
that dig in me as if happily scooping

ice cream for little boys. But I have
to help him too. I’ve already squashed

one widow crawling into bed with him.
For now we watch each other’s backs,

like two grown men in a public shower.

 

Originally published in Diverse Voices Quarterly.

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