Life's Lesson from a Cockroach

What life headless?
To lose all sense but touch. To touch but not feel.
To hold head in hands but feel no pain, no breath, no joy.

Would you go through the motions?
To get up in the morning. To let light in at the window.
To make the bed, iron clothes, bend in prayer.

Or, would you curl up and wait to die?

A cockroach can live without its head a week or more.

  1. Take a hair
  2. Make a loop
  3. Place on neck
  4. Draw tight
  5. Sever head.

The roach without its head, if kept from developing mold,
can even last a month.

If prodded, it will run.
If tipped, it will flail.
If pregnant, it will lay eggs.

Defenseless, disfigured, despised -- It will go on.

Life, even in misery, will go on.


Grace E. Welch  received an honors degree in rhetoric and professional writing from the University of Waterloo in 1992.  A Canadian, she lives in Bermuda, with her husband and 2 children. Her poems have been published in The New QuarterlyThe Feathertale Review, various on-line journals and in the 2006 and 2011 Bermuda Anthologies of Poetry. Her poem, “Return of the Turtle” won first place and "best in show" in the 2006 David Raine Memorial (BAMZ) Poetry Competition.

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