Steady as we prayed

Over lunch, a mantis settled for my Stella de Oro day lilies in the
blazing west sun on my roof deck in Baltimore. A capricious whim,
or calculated move – its motivation irrelevant. To the immediate south,
basil sage perfume, and wild-eyed purple petunia. Air conditioners
hummed mildly for the mantis on a deepening yellow bloom and
just as motionless as a cat perched two roofs away. I watched, captivated.
I willed the insect to move. Electricity rushed the wires. A car door closed.
Wind rustled pollen loose as a police helicopter
charged us to the east. Not one spindly leg twitched.  I looked up.

– a liminal space, a sudden tumblingwhirring cacophony of
skin
and privilege
and good blocks
and protection, and
murder and
bad blocks and
fear and
and grief and so much grief –

Then looked down. Mantis had moved while the rotor blades roared.
It perched upside down mindful, head bowed,
tiny insect arms set in prayer. Steady as the sirens followed
like clockwork. Steady as we thought of our neighbors, knowing not a single one.

 

Written 7/11/16

single in the summer

You, girl, are preoccupied
with the way heat from an afternoon sidewalk
steams your bare thighs. You let
thunder bang around in the empty
cavity of your day-dreamin mind.

Forget what they sold you.

Love is not a hot dress, a polished spoon,
a bleak expectation, 

It is a moment you’ll never own;
a long-awaited rain slipping into dirt,
or how you can silently lean
into a Miles Davis’ horn 
sounding a single humid and final note.