death of a houseplant (Rowdy’s Revenge)

photo courtesy of Josue O. Colop


Beside the chair
of sweatstained red
where I watch the city’s
freckling swelter
on sticky noon
Tuesdays, a lily
lies dying. Nothing
noticeable, mind;
a faint fading into
the badly primed
walls; a slow
yellow march
into composted
tomorrows. Wilted,
ailurophilic leaves
pulled floorward
by a gravity that could
kill us all. A lily lies
dying, and no amount
of hydrostatic
pressure-infused dew-
drawn drippings
can save it nor sweet
lullaby reverse the
slow spiral
down. A lily
lies dying; a lone brave
blossom lifts its
lily-head above the decay,
perches birdlike
poised for bloom,
an unfurling of pale
trumpets some unknown
dawn from now,
a defiant farewell.

21 thoughts on “death of a houseplant (Rowdy’s Revenge)

  1. I love this, especially since there is a picture of a cat above. For cats are the destroyers of all houseplants in my home!

  2. uh oh… i take it that the cat had something to do with this mayhem?

    your poetry is breathtaking, as usual. fave line here:

    “where I watch the city’s
    freckling swelter
    on sticky noon

    and i like the way that you ended with defiant hope:

    “poised for bloom,
    an unfurling of pale
    trumpets some unknown
    dawn from now,”

  3. the repetition of that one line really added effect to the poem.. drilling the point across!
    The poem, as I see it, was packed with some awesome metaphors too…

    Really well written!

  4. So, it isn’t anthropomorphic, but as soon as I get some time, I will figure out the right word for this poem. Reads like you were fighting yourself in your head but the constant laser-like focus on death & assorted connected imagery makes me think the battle is already over. Loved the language, despite the extra work involved. Felt well placed, in that your polysyllabic method adds to rather than detracts from the image as a whole. Sorry I have been a ghost for a while… left facebook as it is simply too distracting, so drop me a line & let me know the next time you’re reading. Been too long, and we never did get that drink. B says aloha as well. Take care,


  5. Don’t pick on the cat, guys. A deer ate my Christmas cactus the other day!

    Rowdy, this was touching. So much to say about this simple demise. The color palette reminded me of Rembrandt. And I’m with Belinda – the death into birth is indeed life’s cycle. You gifted us with this poem. Much appreciated! Amy Barlow Liberatore


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