Drinking Companion

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

There comes a point, toward the bottom of the second pint of beer, when every passing thought sounds like a line from a poem — something about the evening light, perhaps, or my falling intonation as I address my pronouncements to the praying mantis beside me, who turns her head to follow the glass as I raise & lower it, & when I set it down empty beside her, rocks slowly from side to side on her four hind legs. Her people are more recent immigrants than mine. She hasn’t yet learned all the rules about when to open the green umbrella on her back. It’s a good thing I’m not drinking cocktails, I tell her. Her fighter’s form is impeccable as she retreats to the underside of the table, though she does tremble a bit. The decor here is a little rustic, but I think she’s thinking this would be a good place to die.