the care and keeping of your dead lover’s plants

by Melissa Anne

after “The Happy Couple (Death Poem)” by Alysia Harris

There are twenty-seven plants in my bedroom
that will need watering. I know you won’t know which ones
need which kinds of fertilizer and who knows if I’ll have
enough of a grudge to curl around your shoulders and whisper,
If you so much as put the Miracle Gro near these I will eat your eyes.
Will you listen to me when I’m alive if I tell you that the tree
is an actual tree? It needs real soil, steal it from the neighbors—
I swear they won’t notice—
I swear that they’ll get over it like they did my dead body—
I swear that death is just a highway and eventually I will stop for gas
somewhere by our home, or the many places
I used to love you. I mean I love you. I mean I
grew that fern in the corner just for you. Will you listen to me
when I’m dead to tell you that that actually you can let it just die
and I will pick it up wherever dead people get their mail.
Send me the cracked handle of your coffee mug
and all your busted wine glasses. I will braid
the stray threads of your shirts into shadows of stray cats
we used to find in our alleyway.
Playing house in heaven is like being in hell, I think.
In old stories women ate the eyes of their husbands
to make sure they were the only one
he could see.
In a thousand years you’ll crumble the same
as the clump of dirt I held in my hands
and the memories in our hollows
will grow feral and free and
gold and green. Thank you,
Miracle Gro. Thank you.

Melissa Anne is a Filpina American writer in the DC metro area. Her poetry and prose have been recognized by a number of publications and organizations, including Rust + Moth, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, Yuzu Press, The Adroit Journal, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

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