by Betty Laird Long, pale tendrils reaching to the floor under my west window, the String-of-Hearts shares not in my affection for house plants. Why, then, do I keep it, unloved as it is? Why can't I let it die? Ripping dead foliage from its center, plucking dried stems, I long for its demise, hate its tenacity. Then why do I water it, feed it, despising it as I do? Is longevity a kind of trap? Familiarity a snare? Its other name, Rosary Vine, gives me pause. Is there a holy aura protecting it from desecration? Or perhaps an ancestral African spirit still lurks therein, goading me to nurture its progeny. Or does the vine manifest an injunction I do not wish to acknowledge, a command that vexes, impossible to justify, a behest more felt than understood, that life should sustain life?