For Beate And The Houseplants

by Roland Flint

When people say listen to this, this would make a perfect Flint poem, I do listen—for friendliness and because you can never tell.

But when Rosalind says something is worth a poem, I get my pencil out. As if it’s a secret between us like all the poems secretly from her.

We left the house and plants with our German friend, Beate. And when we returned, the television was broken but the plants had grown a foot—in 4 weeks, house trees, dieffenbachia, an African violet, the split-leaf philodendron, many more.

In one abandoned planter in a corner of the porch an ordinary weed was 18 inches high.

She said, I just watered them regularly—but we water them regularly. Surely she sang them German lullabies, or played them Handel’s “Water Music,” or put them all around her bed at night and hummed some secret incantation from her name.

I made many poor jokes to the woman in my first life, about her failure with indoor plants—they all quickly withered or went on stunted and pale green.

Six months after I’d left, her downstairs looked like a greenhouse. When I saw it that first time, all my stale jokes just like my thumb went dog-turd brown in my pocket.

But in my new life, even in my presence, there are many plants, all growing and all green. An avocado seed is a tree, four feet high, still growing. Everywhere I look is green.

That’s how the poems have grown around Rosalind, like wild roses in a wood, where birds paint by, composing the linden trees. Like the house plants around Beate.

So when Rosalind says there’s a poem in Beate’s weed in the abandoned planter, I believe her. And I believe I am that weed.

And I believe Beate when she says the TV just fell off its table one night while she was sleeping.

Last updated April 09, 2011