My friend gives me an orchid
the care tag calls Your Darling.
Water Your Darling once a week:
two tablespoons, lukewarm.
Your Darling enjoys the sunlight.
But not too much. Just enough.
I am not a common keeper
of plants, having killed a number
of violets, amaryllis. Knocked over
a succulent, watched its earth scatter
across the waxed hardwood.
I want to keep My Darling alive,
want to be someone’s Darling
kept in a ray of sunlight, not
too much. I think of the ways
we reveal ourselves: the quirks
that sparkle with charm. My friend
with the binder of catalogued teas.
My friend with the necklace made of
fruit. My friend with the collages
of tigers and seals. Their dimpled,
When someone calls you worthless,
you might question these things
in yourself. What exactly
was worthless? You might look
at the glass mermaid,
the anime t-shirt,
and wonder, Was it
this? The things you find
darling about yourself—deemed
worthless. Deemed having-no-worth.
Once, in a computer game, the goal
was to woo a lover, get them to marry
your avatar. You had to build up
a slate of heart points. You had to fill up
their heart gauge. My digital wife
and I met on a dancefloor, so after
we wed, I always took her dancing.
I wanted to keep her heart full.
When I told this to the man
I was seeing at the time, he said,
It doesn’t matter. It can empty.
They won’t leave. God sends
signs to those who listen.
My Darling, My Darling,
I will always cherish
your binder of tea flavors.
Your necklace of fruit.
Will never find worthless
your wild creations. Will
always see the moon in your
half-smile. Water Your Darling
weekly, daily, hourly if you can.
Water Your Darling, since
the heart is a pie near a
mountain of ravenous ants.
The heart a gauge nibbled away.
My Darling, I will never let you
erode. I promise I will always
read your care tag. Your charms
will never be lost on me. Cross my
heart: I will always bloom awe.