I’ve never been much good at keeping house plants alive,
But ever since my three days in San Francisco
I’ve had this thing for succulents –
bright and brittle, skeletal and lush,
succulents are the bone and blush of the plant world –
they creep with long fingers and grow thick forests
in my little cracked tea cups, in old ceramic mugs
they are deep green, arid living things –
what is it about them?
how they filled endless colourful clay pots
in every hipster café in San Francisco’s hipster-tech Mission district,
bouncing upward with an emerald spring, their spidery limbs
blooming with reptile-like petals. Nothing soft about these sturdy plants,
yet their delicacy glows from deep within them. Just green, green,
bones of green – that survive almost anything –
that don’t beg water, that will root anywhere,
blooming broadly – they are resilient beauty.
The tomboy of houseplants. No fuss, low-maintenance
unassuming in their girlhood beauty.
I’ve never been one for keeping house plants alive,
but since last February it’s all I can do
to keep myself from buying more and more succulents.
They are thriving. I’ve cared for them
like no house plant that’s made it passed this door.
I’ve changed their soil, switched containers,
asked carefully from each of them which window
makes them energetically happy.
The jade lobes, the yucca arms, the spindly spider legs,
each succulent a story, each one placed
in just a way, in one corner of a window
next to another, so that
whatever karma’s happening in San Francisco
swirls its way in this Ontario apartment –
succulents speaking to one another, their resilience
a green song soaring through the window.