What if I don't love it right? This Venus
fly trap, in its shallow water, in its plastic pot
on the shelf a few feet from the register; eight heads
hung back, asking charity from above
‘til the joy of digestion quiets one,
though only for a moment.
What if the sunlight seeps through my window
too directly and there the plant withers
or roasts and then rots? Or in winter
when bugs swarm back
into the endless, unseen holes of the Earth,
will I have the diligence to hunt
and feed this hungry green? Will I maintain
the warmth of Carolinas?
Dan says there are trigger hairs
only visible if you lean real close, close enough to taste
the boggy perfume of its plumes.
He says if you trip one, a mouth closes
much slower than you'd expect,
not a snap,
more an exhale, expelling a single vowel. O
I know I'll touch just one to see, but what if I touch more?
Its many mouths chattering in my mind until, curious,
I lay the curve of a finger into each and starve the hydra
gleefully, like popping bubble wrap or pushing the big red buttons
which launch the bombs that end the world. Only it doesn't work
like that. It doesn't starve, Dan says, the flies are a bonus,
a zest. The plant lives like any other, on water
and sun, and the animals it takes only for pleasure. Was it pleasure?
He might have said purpose. He might have said
Why don't you just buy the thing? When it dies, it will be dead.