8

I was to water her orchid. Never before had I cared for one. There’s an aggressive tenderness to the nature of the plant, to her behavior. Her needs need to be anticipated.

I watered her as instructed. I undressed her from her ceramic and released her, exposed, into a shallow pool of tap water. The duration, I don’t remember. “More than four hours”, I was told, was enough. “More than four hours, less than a day.” I did what I was told.

I drained the excess into the metal sink where I wash the dishes and pour cold coffee. I waited for her. That is how it works with the orchids. You wait. Used and unused, standing in a dance without movement.

Carefully, I redressed her, and nature blew a contemptuous breath that fell a flower, symmetric, stem intact. And I watched her abruptness sit me flat in my flawed attachment to meaning.

Because she can.

6

Here is a portrait
Incomplete
Of a man, I see
Flat, 2d
Of a man, I know
Just barely
Through memories
That are not from me.

He was born in the year of the Earth Monkey,
A Gemini, like my mother. His mother,
A washer; his father,
A master miller.
Both are now dead.

He loves dogs.
“No.
He loves any animal
That obeys him.”
       Once
He trained a pig to act like a dog.
Imagine that.
Kept the porker on a leash
Took it for walks
-Bit people too but

“Only at his command,
Of course.” Of course.

He likes his beer blonde
Like his hair, and The Thief King is
His f  a  v  o  r  ite book, and
It’s like Game of Thrones
‘Cept no one knows it
Except him.
(Accept him) playonwords

I want you to know
That

He is somewhere

Breathing,

Pink masses stretching and releasing
Beneath
A cage of his bones.

Maybe coughing
Or rubbing
The cold from his eye with a knuckle
Or feeling
His palms grow cool against metal.

He is somewhere and
These are just words
That you read. A portrait
Incomplete
Of a man, you see
Flat, 2d
Of a man, you know
Just barely
Through memories
That are not from thee.