Mid-Morning with Houseplants

Michelle Peñaloza

in various states of life and death,
without you I am more and less
of a green thumb. 

I’ve brought your gardenias indoors,
and wiped their leaves with a damp paper towel,
so now each dark leaf shines like something new, 

something indoor and manicured.
Someone outside scrapes the sidewalk
endlessly with a rake, a feral city noise

insistent and invisible—I cannot see him
but can hear his determination
collecting each and every leaf. 

This morning I woke late,
later than I meant to, which is what happens
most mornings without you here.  

Most mornings are matters of fact
instead of delicious, instead of petals
plucked carefully, sun revealed to sky.

Instead there is the unending
scrape of metal across cement.
There is the hammer and drill of progress. 

Let’s buy a farm and own no house plants.
Let’s plant fruit trees and grow mushrooms in the dark.
Let’s live off of the land and each other

letting go of matters and facts, letting
leaves dust over with dirt, letting them fall
and gather into piles taller than us.