Hilary Biehl


Lament for a Houseplant

They told me it’s impossible to kill
a cactus. They were lying. Does this look
alive to you? I didn’t think so. Still,
I swear I did everything by the book.
I put it on a sunny windowsill.
I watered it, but not too much. I took
it out for walks. Perhaps it caught a chill?

Should I have chatted to it less, or more?
Maybe it was my choice of topic. How
was I to know topology would bore
it half to death? If I could change things now,
I’d read it something short and sweet, like War
and Peace
, or funny, like The Golden Bough.
I don’t think it liked 1984.

In any case, it seems I’m done with plants.
Think I’ll crochet one—it might have a chance.


Hilary Biehl‘s poems have appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal, The Road Not Taken, Mezzo Cammin, and The Lyric. She lives with her husband and their son in Santa Fe, New Mexico.