I Don't Know How to Ask for Help
by Spencer Williams
so I nearly drown the spider plant
with care. She’s not mine,
though I’m afraid my friend will not
return for her. Often, I take the truth
like an error to the mouth. Yes,
the plant should be elsewhere,
deserves a better pose on a more
refined ledge. A more adequate master.
Yet she remains asleep in the chest
of my house, on the mantle. For her,
I try so many new things. In the morning,
I tease the pot closer to the sun,
when there is sun.
I test the soil with fingers as instructed,
speak my language, and pretend she’s listening.
It matters that she’s listening. Sometimes,
I bring her down to the table across
from a wine glass marked with spit—
proof of my action. It matters
that I cooked an egg and left the skillet
on the stovetop, that I showed her
the choke of child’s flame melting butter into lake.
She is still a hive of pointing limbs. A good witness.
In the evenings, she retains the motions
of my fussing, my muted attempts
at kindness towards any unclean surface.
It’s been nights since we’ve seen the moon,
and as she waits for a glimpse, I can pretend
I’m not alone.
Perhaps you think me cruel for this.
Perhaps I don’t know what’s best for me,
or anyone. But look. She is alive because of me,
just barely. See? I’ve already learned so much
about love that is simple, practical. On grey days,
a lamp angled over the pot. Each morning,
a measured bath of water.
Spencer Williams is from Chula Vista, California. She is the author of the chapbook Alien Pink (The Atlas Review, 2017) and her work is featured in Apogee, Hobart, PANK, and Bat City Review. She received her MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University-Newark.