Maybe the soil is too moist;
maybe the roots have begun to rot—
plant care has never been my strong suit,
as I have the tendency to overwater.
Plants are a bit capricious in that way;
they need a balance of commitment and indifference—
a balance I’ve yet to master,
a goldilocks zone of water, sunlight, and soil.
I envy the knowledge of the botanist,
with enough patience and restraint to will a seed
into splitting open and sprouting life,
germinating without hesitating.
The botanist—with the confidence to walk away,
to trust nature,
to trust herself,
to trust time to beget growth.
But my heavy hands and soggy tears
crush the life out of a simple seedling,
spill every glass on the counter,
drop the pot and sweep the dirt,
water, water, check, water, water, wonder, worry, water, water…
Then wonder why time hasn’t worked its magic,
why seeds don’t grow while I hold them tightly in my hand;
I clench them in my fists, grit my teeth, squeeze my eyes closed and scream.
There are no thorns, no tines, not even one.
It’s my own nails digging into my palms,
leaving tiny half-moons printed on my skin
and little shards of a seedling’s shell in my hand.
But I don’t know how to grow plants like a botanist.
I don’t even know any botanists.
I only know sheer will and clasped hands to the heavens, whispering,
“Maybe this one will grow. Let’s try giving it more water.”