“Deadheading” by Sean Griffin

Through the glass pane
of the door, a flower pot
hangs off the awning, turning
in the breeze, shaking its head

no. Its growth spills
from the brim, letting gravity
coerce the vines. Its passivity
pisses me off. And I want you

to see this plant’s petals ripping
from the stems in a gust and all
it can do is grow. If the rain pelts
its leaves, erupts its soil,

too much to slake its thirst
we’ll have to bring it inside
because what can it do
if the pot is shook, upended from

its hook, its contents on the ground.
I think of when the shower’s static sound
stopped, but you didn’t emerge
from behind the curtain and when I

peeked around, you were curled
up as if you were swept with the hairs
that tried to cling to the tub and now
formed a web at the drain.

You said you didn’t feel in control.
The water pooled at the knuckles
of your spine, shaking with your
sobs until they rolled down

your skin puckered and peaked
I put a towel over you and rubbed your
back. Someone said we should pinch
off the shriveled buds to show the plant

where to expend its efforts. Regardless
the few darkened heads, some signed
leaves, the plant will grow. Even if the wind
doesn’t leave it the hell alone.


Ben Schutz grew up on an island in Lake Michigan and is an English teacher and poet residing in Debrecen, Hungary.