Death Angels

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series Highgate Cemetery Poems


Pensive angel

Death gets more credit
than it deserves.
It is we who, wherever
the bomb lands, draw
a bull’s-eye.
It is we who knot ropes
& live under glass,
who have razed forests
to build forests
of stone. We are made
to degrade gracefully,
like spent erections.
We have evolved to tower
on hind legs, to pass
for termite mounds
when we take root in
the heat of noon,
giving as little ground
to the sun as we can,
& while predators rest,
to stretch bold as shadows
toward whatever they
or the wind happen
to have dropped.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. This is excellent, Dave. A discursive meditation, even a touch of humour, but entirely and acutely relevant. Just right.


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