by Jeph Johnson 


one day I decided

I was going to

surprise her

with flowers 


so naturally

I asked:

"What kind

of flowers

do you like?" 


she replied:

"the kind

that don't die" 


so now I knew what kind, 

but the surprise was ruined 


the next time I saw her

she gave me

a China Doll plant

with green leaves

and no flowers 


together we set it

by my window 


"it doesn't need much water,

once a week, tops. 


oh, don't do that...

you're going to drown it! 

I already watered it today,

you won't need to


at least

next Friday. 


oh, don't do that...

once a week, tops" 


over time

it began to stretch

and yawn like her cat

while searching

for elusive drops of sunlight

that we figured someday

might come out

and make it thirsty 


then she left. 

citing my immaturity


"oh, don't do that..." 


...and it became

my job to care for it 

so I watered it some more 


"you're going to drown it!" 


I mean

what else am I to do

with a plant-

talk to it? 


inspired by my new maturation

I named it "Victor"

after the dead actor

Victor Mature 

who starred in

the movie China Doll


I am determined

to not let him die


I look past the clouds

and hope for daylight

to dry the puddles 


I whisper



twice a day)

to Victor

to remind myself 

"crying isn't always

a sign of immaturity" 


but looking down

my teardops

spill into his soil

and his leaves

keep wilting 


Author's Notes/Comments: 

for Twilla, 2002 

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