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
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