The Peacock and the Mantis

NOTE: This poem is based on a very disturbing dream I had once, where a giant praying mantis beheaded a peacock. I describe my dreams a lot in what I write, so I guess I’m a Surrealist of sorts.

I watched the bird glowing
blue and green
in the sunlight
streaming through
my kitchen window.
But then a praying mantis
jumped out of my tea cup
and the bird shrieked
as it leapt on its back.
He was the prettiest bird
I’d ever seen,
his many-eyed tail
a jealous goddess’s gift
but she was not there
when the insect
descended in a translucent green swirl
and its mandibles sliced through
his delicate neck.
I felt as brittle as the tea cup –
oh how it cracked
like the mirror of Shallott –
porcelain roses bursting apart
with silent, heavy grief,
and a million tiny shards
revealed a million mantis heads
looking back at me.


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