The String of Hearts

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 

Categories: Poetry