poetry by Lo Mei Wa and photography by Manson Wong
They come of seafloor bones, breastfed with one blood flowing out to sea, centuries of vengeance buried underwater. A white lotus grows inside their mouths. Their compound eyes see doubly. Their habitat is carcasses dumped overboard. Their legs can be broken and they can still walk. They are the underwater mantes, warriors who cannot see each other, but move as one in the dark.
A crevasse cuts through the dark, then light comes in. One follows the light, the first to see the underwater world, the sky’s eternal killing. Another follows, and suffocates, too, in the blood. Then schools of mantes shoot out of the crevasse, which widens. The golden bell’s centuries of protection break apart. A sea of mantes takes off from water, the sky a green collage, the lotuses in full blossom. The last warrior leaves and the golden bell collapses.
They land on the island from which they came. The soft reeds have long been cleared. One of them sets fire to a tiny plastic flower, the one who fell in love with the world first. Then lightning streaks across the blue sky. A thousand more streaks follow, stabbing every mantis on the island. Standing between plastic flowers, they look up to heaven, forearms lifted high. They will never leave home again. Dismembered bodies scatter, sink into the earth, and become seeds of the ancient reed. From the ocean rises a new mountain. The new world calls it the Lion’s rock.