This is the cleanest room I ever had—
A bed, a chest of drawers, an easy chair,
A picture on the wall, a potted plant,
And up and down the hall a dozen rooms
As clean and bare and bright....
There ought to be
An attic for the things that have no place
In such a place as this—the odds and ends
That last too long, the clutter of the years,
Too old to keep, too dear to throw away.
There ought to be a cellar for the graves
Of everything we murdered in our youth.
There ought to be a place....
My daughter says
You have to talk to plants to make them grow.
I watch the philodendron on the sill
And talk to it the way they talk to me.
"Good morning, Philly, how are we today?
And are we ready for our nice, warm bath?
Our vitamins? Our prunes? Our toast and tea?
Let's wear the pretty dress your daughter brought,
The one with lace, that buttons down the back.
Just raise your arms a bit—how sweet you look!
Don't you go flirting with the doctor now!
The philodendron shivers in the sun,
Pressing its skinny leaves against the glass
And reaching toward the hedgerow and the sky.
Today, if they should come to water it,
I think I'll say I've watered it already,
And I shall never talk to it again.
One thing I know, if I know nothing else,
A philodendron has the right to die.