Plant Life


You keep alive a succulent for six years

and then it begins to fail, the leaves purple,

so you put yourself into the dry bed

and feel for the roots, bury them in your wet hands.


The first time a man said oh babe, oh babe, babe

when he was about to cum

you thought it meant he liked you.

By the next one you know better.


You want to know about entropy

like a scientist, not like a poet

where the natural world stands in

for your emotional landscape.

The universe is inexorably expanding

and you are so sad inside the Lincoln tunnel.


There are creosote bushes in the Mojave dessert

12,000 years old. They’re nothing spectacular

and they could be you; what you want above all is endurance.


Your care for the succulent is like how men

care for you, which is to say occasional,

which is to say what goes around, comes –

No, no it just goes.




Leaving a man’s apartment in Brooklyn,

you go to your sister, smelling like sex,

and kiss her cheek. It might be a one-time thing

but a psychic told you two years ago

that his initials would be important.


He donated his kidney to a stranger, and when you saw

his scar you felt awed and afraid for him,

you wanted to sleep with him.

What is it like to be so good?


You and your sister collaborate on a text message

to her boss, figure out where to put the haha.

You want to be liked, but sometimes forget how.

Your sister never forgets.

You wash the dog who’s dirty from the Prospect Park pond.

The shower scares him to shivers every time,

you say Mister Shakes, it’s okay.


Life is simple when it’s about calming the dog,

getting on the subway when you’re wine-sick,

remembering to email that student.


You take the sun’s shocking portrait

but the color never comes out right, does it?


It doesn’t matter, the sun doesn’t need you

to look good. It’s exactly itself so don’t waste your time.


Don’t read your tarot cards either,

you know you won’t handle it gracefully

when you turn over Death.


You get Death more than anyone you know

like it’s time to end something but you don’t know what.

Laura Cresté holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU and a BA from Bennington College. She is the winner of Breakwater Review's 2016 Peseroff Prize, and her work has appeared in previously in Tinderbox, Powder Keg, Phantom, Bodega, and is forthcoming in No Tokens.