The Peace Lily

To say the peace lily died / would be an understatement.

A black and white photo of the poet, a young woman, against a background of varying shades of brown.
The Walrus

The peace lily I bought
at Thrifty Foods for $4.99
taught me something
about beauty. When I saw
its poker-green leaves
and flowers, like studded
Jacobsen Egg Chairs,
I rushed it into my cart,
wheeled to the till, carried
it home, and centred it
atop a sunny bookshelf.
Within a week, its leaves
had black spots. A second
week saw its flowers gone.
My mother-in-law said
it needed repotting
and took it—returned it
in a larger pot, trimmed
of rot. Still, it withered.
The internet told me to
shield it from breezes,
to mist it, fertilize it,
and comb for mites. I did
everything, and in return,
it sent out one new flower,
alive as a child’s hand,
which drooped before
ever really blooming.
To say the peace lily died
would be an understatement.
Like a famous connoisseur
of death, it took its time:
every last leaf withered
into a black ash that stuck
on the shelf, and what
remained in the pot
resembled the dregs
of a great forest fire.
I am not someone
who if you smashed all
her mirrors or splattered
her canvases with tar
would suffer very much,
but I admired the lily
and wanted it to thrive.
Yet the more I did for it
the less interested
it seemed in living,
and in the end—tipping it
out into my compost bin—
a bit of me loved
being done with it.

Kayla Czaga
Kayla Czaga is the author of the poetry collections Dunk Tank and For Your Safety Please Hold On.

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