this is not a poem about a virus. this is a poem about the sunlight trembling in through the curtains. this is not a poem about dying. this is a poem about the willows shimmying and the time v told me, you’ll know you’re where you need to be when you can see the trees smile and I watched and waited and then I could. this is not a poem about my lungs hurting. this is about roots squishing into the juicy ground. i’m not going to talk about coughing
in this verse. this line is not about k on a ventilator, it’s about epiphytes, plants that live on other plants but are not parasitic, so this is about orchids growing on avocado trees. this is not about n staggering away from the hospital, calling to tell us there’s no medicine for her, that all she can do is go home. this is about how upland orchids do best in partial shade and how avocado trees boast rough bark well-suited to root-attachment. this is not about z washing r’s body himself, before carrying him into the ground. this is about how you must water or mist the orchid roots daily if you want them to attach to the tree. they are so exposed, no longer resting in soil, not yet reoriented. this is not about d laying cuttings from l’s garden onto his shrouded body. this is not about how, when honoring both a person and their privacy, a name becomes unspeakable, like g-d. this is not a poem for the dead. this is a poem for the living. but if the dead want to join in, they are invited. i’m not going to say kaddish
in this one, but if i did, i might remind myself that in the mourner’s kaddish, there is no mention of death. i might remember that with proper care, a land-bound plant separated from the soil can adapt to living in this new way.