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  • MReid

ashes to ashes

I wrote the other day

that as a plant parent I would never salvage dead branches

because it was supposed to be a metaphor about trying to rouse life

from things you need to let die

or rather, accept the death of

since we all know death don't need no permission.

I wrote that, but it wasn't true

because I remember the plant I bought on clearance

sometime before the world collapsed.

It had maroon stems and pink leaves and I just thought it was darling

though it was dying, very much Charlie Brown Christmas tree

though the leaves didn't start to drop until much later.

I dutifully attended to its dying like I have to dead and decaying relationships.

I watered it, barely giving the soil time to dry

which makes me think of the boy I haven't thought of in a while,

the one I begged to love me after he dumped me,

told me I was too much after spending too much time

sliding in and out from between my legs

anytime he came calling and I went running.

I sobbed into his lap in the corner of his mishap of a room,

near the bed that wore only a fitted sheet.

I watered him too much and too often, flooded his soil

when I choked out through my tears,

please don't leave me.

I moved that dead pink plant around my home

into the light and out again

and it rewarded me by continuing its march to death,

which makes me think of the friendships I have continued to dance in

though the music has stopped, or changed, or maybe never even sounded at all.

Maybe it is the sheer force of my will that wrought them into existence

or kept them hanging on

or maybe I've just changed too much,

expect more than missed texts

incomplete stories


the kind of breeziness that makes it too easy for me to lie.

Maybe the grave of unreasonable expectations is lying in wait for me,

myself, the gravedigger and corpse.

So when I wrote that I would never salvage dead branches,

I think I wanted to write something that would make me feel more than human

more than the longing woven through muscle and bone

flowing through blood to my heart and back out again,

something better than the weakness of the kid inside who never felt truly seen

and who still can have me begging for scraps,

mewling like a puppy at the slightest show

of attention.

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