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Ancient History

Open Letter to a Clueless Poinsettia

Dear You at the End of my Kitchen Table,

You are still fire engine red.

Your leaves are enormous. We are talking lobster bib.

Your hearty, open, thirsty roots snake inside a pot covered in shiny green wrap.

If I woke from a Crusoe-style slumber and walked into my kitchen, I’d guess it was nearing Christmas because of you. A quick glance at any handy calendar would reveal the true date. It is March. Spring is less than three weeks away. We are closer to Memorial Day than Christmas and you will not die.

You will not die.

I am the Lady of the Blackest Thumbs. Houseplants tremble. Gardens weep. They sense my fumbling, over-eagerness to see them thrive. They know I will always water too much, give them too much sunlight, or not enough. I was counting on enjoying you for the two weeks leading up to Christmas and for a week or two after. I never thought we’d wave goodbye to January together. I never thought you’d be around for the Super Bowl or Valentine’s Day.

I never thought you’d still be lush in March because I am me and you are a living plant. Ho ho ho, a jolly voice from the past mocks. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

What should I do with you? I can’t bring myself to throw you into one of the big rolling trash cans. Your end can’t come mingling with Ollie’s cast off Easy-Ups. I can’t deprive you of water on purpose. I’ve forgotten other indoor plants but I can’t forget you because there you are, front and center.

I see you blazing every time we eat or cook, you aberration, you uncanny imponderable, you Euphorbia pulcherrima. I was reading about you and learned you can reach heights of 16 feet. That’s just ludicrous. It’s something Dr. Seuss would draw.

In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, I wrote a poem for you.

Euphorbia pulcherrima,
why won’t you die?
Shed those velvety wings,
A ticker-tape goodbye.

It’s up to you, Poinsettia. I’ll keep watering, you keep drinking until the day you wake up and think to yourself that those noises outside must be fireworks celebrating our nation’s independence from red-coated rulers. Red-coated rulers. You are on the wrong side of history, my friend.

Scowling at Your Vibrant Tropical Legendary Beauty Knowing I Should be Grateful and Such,

Gretchen

It's immortal.

It’s immortal.

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