The Carnivorous Plants

in exile, ganged up in this greenhouse of living ache
and want, shabby glassed-in room with a door propped open
by a dustpan under a scribbled please, keep locked,
underlined, underlined. Who wrote that, what guardian

of the wordless deep to abet these most patient other
bullies on their bright faded stalks breathing in
my carbon, giving back oxygen, not a gift, only something
to remind: the invisible exchange—love that first.

But trays and trays of dirt growing miniature time bombs,
tiny eyelids with a clamshell look, eyelashes if
brushed even slightly, they go for me. One clamps up
quick as I pull away. I’m its feed me right now,

I’m prey, then a total washout, too big for its wired-up little,
a tease. Slowly it reopens, resumes watch on this ocean
of sunlit muggy air, me swimming through my so important
afternoon to supper, to sleep. What to dream at night—

who knows how ruthless such a small empty creature
crazy to swallow all anything that happens by,
to give it a shot, a next world, a slow dissolve.
I have eyelids. I have eyelashes that shut down tight.


Copyright © 2018 Marianne Boruch. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.