cactus in clay flowerpot with hyacinth and aloe on table
Photo: Getty Images

The Friday Poem: All my plants are dead and I’m pretty sure it’s your fault, by Dani Yourukova

A new poem from Wellington poet Dani Yourukova.

All my plants are dead and I’m pretty sure it’s your fault

I think it’s extremely inconsiderate of you – showing up and being exactly the sort of person that I would become immediately obsessed with.

The planet is dying and so is my half price orchid from Bunnings

and you don’t even care and neither do I.

If we were in a real poem probably all my plants would be doing fine, despite my emotionally distant behavior.

Because they would understand how I feel and bloom harder instead of dying and also they would smell like the concept of lesbians.

Sometimes life furnishes you with imperfect metaphors to complement your assortment of low-maintenance house plants that,

as it turns out, aren’t quite low maintenance enough.

But telling you how I feel about you in a poem is like blurting out “I love you” at a three way

my audience isn’t sure who I’m talking to, and no one involved can tell if I mean it or not.

What I’m trying to say is that it isn’t totally your fault that I like you so much that I started neglecting all of my usual responsibilities just so

I could watch nature documentaries in your shitty apartment,

but taking responsibility for my own failings as a person is very hard,

and flirting with you in a playfully accusatory tone at a suitably ironic distance through the medium of literature is very easy.

So my hyacinth curls like an old fingernail,

my basil pot and related Italian-home-cooking fantasies wither prematurely into dust,

and my zebra plant lives so close to the verge of extinction that David Attenborough is raising awareness in one last Netflix special.

My cactuses are doing okay, but sometimes they get a little critical when I come in late with two shades of lipstick on my teeth.

“Don’t you care about the environment?” they bristle, spines in the shapes of rhetorical question marks.

“All of the bees are dying and no one cares if you’re in love or not

except you.”


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again in March 2021.

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.