She was really religious,

a joy to watch at prayers.

But from childhood on

a confirmed romantic,

disagreeing with the

sacred rules of sex,

sacrifice, marriage.

We had the prescribed talks

of a mother and daughter

at puberty, but she’d cover her face,

try to hide her revulsion

at the thought of turning two

literally into one.

She promised to eat

plenty of proteins,

so important in planned

pregnancies, promised in fact

to do anything but devour her handsome

healthy husband during The Act,

biting off his head and continue

chomping him passionately, in keeping

with the age-old practice of mating

if you’re a praying mantis.

It’s a puzzlement; it’s true,

but what is a mantis mother to do?

Rice Lyons has been leading her poetry workshop, “The Wonder of Wordplay,” for more than 13 years at the Princeton Senior Research Center. During her 30 years as an administrator at Princeton, she initiated and taught “LAFF, Life After Forty Five.” Lyons’ poetry has appeared in various publications.

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