“You Like Keeping Things Alive”

I learned of a disease
that kills houseplants:
once one starts dying,
others who share
similar air
will also start dying.

The key to preventing a slow plague
is to prune off any dead appendages
quickly, and in regular intervals.

My apartment required treatment:
three-quarters of my houseplants
were steadily dying.

One big chain reaction…
their peers were
failing, so
shouldn’t they
do the same?

After learning of the disease
I pruned the houseplants
no mercy for the dead,
less for the straggler.

When I finished, a scratched record
was spinning into the center, with
houseplants diminished to bones.

I stirred the dirt and put the houseplants
into the sink to soak in water overnight.

When I woke up
the weather was
uncommonly warm;

I opened the windows,
relocated the plants
to towels on the table
and prepared eggs,
sunnyside up.

After I finished eating, after feeding
the yolk to the dog and the bread-
crust to the garbage container, I

the houseplants on their hooks,
fed the fish and watch them feed
(until they appeared satisfied),

fixed the pillows on the sofa
washed a few dirty plates
took a piss in the bathroom
picked my face in the mirror
laid in bed staring into nothing
expecting answers without asking

fed the dog and watched him feed
read a story, feasted on almonds,

walked the dog and watched him shit.

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