Those Below

I stand here wondering
if life is a choice.
And I wonder what else is a choice.
I wonder why people behave
as if what they choose
is not a choice.
Why does a person practice a religion
that hurts others
as if it is not a choice?
Why does a person practice politics
that hurt others
as if it is not a choice?
Why do people look upon
a suicidal person
as if what they wish to do
as if the end of life they crave
is a choice?
Why is the end of our own lives
a choice
but not the end of others’ lives?
Why is hurting ourselves not right
but hurting others is right?
What makes us right?
What makes me wrong?

I stand here wondering
if life is a choice.
And I see a beetle cross my wood floor
not knowing where it is
not knowing which direction
it is headed
so it scuttles in any direction.
I bend to one knee
then descend to the other
and extend my hand
onto which the beetle hesitantly crawls.
I stand
and walk out the door
the dawn greeting me.
I step
down each gravelly step
to the ground floor
to the grass beside the walkway.
Lowering my hand to the damp grass
I allow the beetle to crawl excitedly
from my hand and onto the grass
where it feels more natural.
Walking back up the steps
I think of what I could have done
how I could have smashed it dead
rather than going out of my way
helping it
back to familiar ground.
Is life a choice?
What makes me so wrong?


2 thoughts on “Those Below

  1. I have hd similar experiences with spiders and salamanders who wander into the house, but I draw the line at roaches! Tree roaches in Texas can be up to two inches long and wander in looking for water in the drought. I usually crunch them with my foot (IF I have on shoes) and then dispose of them in a paper towel, wetting it to wipe up the blood. Violent woman? Maybe so…
    Lovely, thought-provoking poem. God’s little creatures make us ponder our own insignificance and the enormity of making good choices.

    1. My first choice is to respect life, but if it’s going to get out of control on me, then I do have to, as you would do, step on a roach (I do feel bad about it, though). However, if it’s just lost and should go back outside, I’m happy to help it.

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