Mantis

He nursed
unrequited love
in his green
heart-shaped
head-of-eyes.

An evolution
of praying for love
has made a crippled
posture of his arms.

Bitterness
has stiffened
his neck,
fanged his limbs
with malice.

In his fierce desires
his embraces kill
his love devours.


from Behind the Carnival (Smith/Doorstop, 1994), © John Lyons 1994, used by permission of the author