Phylum Arthropoda

Arthropods: Animals possessing bilateral symmetry, segmented bodies and jointed exoskeletons.
Insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and kin—Earth is
Teeming with arthropods’ segmented vim. Word is
Eighty percent of our biome comprises these
Integral creatures who drive our ecologies.
Why then do humans lack qualms about killing them?
Swatting, dissecting, or crudely de-winging them?
Squishing ants flat on the street with no afterthought?
Broiling live lobsters in scalding hot cooking pots?
Humans equate moral stature with sentience—
Morally relevant creatures must always sense
Pain, and at minimum, boast some autonomous
Cognitive process that indicates consciousness.
Dragonflies showcase selective attention, and
Shore crabs who’re shocked flee their dens into no man’s land.
Honeybees harness predictive cognition to
Pollinate orchards with mindful precision. Few
Humans would  guess jumping spiders’ deft synapses
Stipulate where they launch cephalothoraxes.
Cambrian-forged, yet still rife with preeminence,
Arthropods are morphological elegance.

Mindy Watson

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Mindy Watson would be pleased to hear them.