Regimbartia Attenuata, the Jonah Bug
To be eaten, digested and excreted,
The common fate of all,
Whether by predator, scavenger,
Or microbe in the tomb.
But to be swallowed whole and yet return,
Who but Jonah could manage such a feat?
And he had a Helper, as we know.
Earth could not yield a more welcome escape,
But alone among us has the tiny
Water scavenger beetle found a way.
Underwater, it enwraps its own bubble
Of air, and when gulped alive by its old
Enemy, the dark-spotted leopard frog,
It merely continues to swim, right through
The stomach, the small intestine and the large,
To the very end, in ten minutes or less.
Then, stimulating the frog’s gut to open
The vent, out it pops, head first,
To swim away, washing itself clean
As it goes. Not a bad trick, this.
Randel McCraw Helms’s recent poems have appeared in such places as “Honeyguide,” “Dappled Things,” and “Young Ravens Literary Review.” His chapbooks “Animal Prayers” and “I Cry Love! Love! Love!” were published in 2020 and 2021, respectively.