In the Midst of Life We Are in Death
by Randel McCraw Helms
Here, see this praying mantis leisurely
Masticating her late lover, who still
Jerks, headless, his glad coital dance.
Did you ever roll at highway speed through
Fat, wet clouds of swarming nectar-drugged bees?
Or drive summer asphalt across marching armies
Of migrating mate-seeking tarantulas?
Or tread upon drowned sidewalk earthworms after rain,
And the happy ants who feed upon them?
Or watch fanged spiders usher moths into
Eternity shrouded in whitest, finest silk?
In the midst of life we are in death;
We breathe unthinking the common, exhaled air
Uttered in agonies of the incurable.
Randel McCraw Helms is retired from Arizona State University’s English Department. Making poems is his lifelong vice, and his recent work has appeared in such places as Blood & Bourbon, Dappled Things, and Silkworm.