A Prayer Mantis Widowed Black

by Scott Utley


A diva doused in deep scarlet diamonds, black sable and hair electric blue,

held her place before me as our elevator fell free from the top of the World Trade Tower.

Between heaven and hell, I fell in love. This much I could feel, this much I was sure of.

I felt shame at being nothing and nobody she could love. I flashed back to the ghetto

I was branded by. Blank-eyed, my head titled forward, out and down.

My perspective was a hawk’s eye view of Hades. Fifty-third and third … mine, mine, mine …

use to be mine … my corner … when I was fourteen. Upon the littered streets of Chelsea, Sheridan Square,

Christopher Street, the pier, the trucks, and my old neighborhood over off Bank street by HB studios,

lay debris, detriment, and minced miniature genitalia of yesterday’s used-up action figures

greeting good morning through hazed, petrol-glassed, excremental eyes. That was yesterday.

Today? Well, today … I felt her. She felt it! Damn it! Oh, Oh … Truth hurts. I hurt. It hurt. Immediately.

Yet, my fantasies still flew wild! Just as the hawks on fifth avenue do

when the pigeons fly their loops. As her black satin heels hit the curb I found the courage to raise my head.

She had glee’d me into submission with her eyes and then she ate my heart to shreds.

A praying Mantis widowed black is unbearably attractive. A trickster out-tricked by a trickster! That’s a switch!

I was sure she was the one. I felt it. She made me feel that way. This must be what

it feels like to be an old whore after Mardi Gras. In the first moment, being mortal,

I suffered profoundly. In the next, my blank stare turned starry as I gazed in wonder.

Her eyes darting to and fro. Her gold-leafed head turning circles, I wondered how did she do that?

And then those eyes, those eyes, those oscillating glitter-opticals illuminating my barren heart …

I simply turned to dust and blew away as she shimmered towards the fading light.

A Prayer Mantis Widowed Black

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