top of page

Dead houseplants

                            [Mariah Friend]

It is not
lost on me
that while I am growing
new life
in this burgeoning body
at least 25%, maybe 50%
of my houseplants
are dying

The Christmas tree-
dry, prickly
no longer smelling
of blue pine

Empty cans
of chicken noodle soup
piled in the recycling bin
The teapot boils
for a second, third time today
Gratitude shapeshifts
into yet more grief

As the pandemic surges
I google pairs of words-
“corona” and “pregnancy”
reading answers like
“stillbirth” and “miscarriage”

If I listen closely
and use my imagination
I can hear
little one’s heartbeat
faster than mine

There is no guarantee
this life
this gift
will survive

Grief has no threshold
once reached
offering sweet relief
There is no deductible
for suffering

a temporary resting place
a pause
to gather oneself again

I wonder
what my dying houseplants
are trying to tell me
what cautionary tale
of illusory hope?

Wolf Moon


there are ones who
bloom in winter
defiant, courageous,

whose ignorance
of hardened earth
unfurls small petals,

teach me to be
like a daffodil
in snow,
a december rose,
blush beneath
the white wolf moon

teach me to dance
upon water
long frozen
pale cheeks
knowing, there are
rivers of warmth,
life and blood



Mariah M. Friend is a poet, and novelist living in Kansas City, Missouri.  A former I.C.U. nurse and a world traveler, her writing is influenced by her travels, Midwestern childhood, and the twin vocabularies of medicine and healing. Cycles of life shape her work — the paradox of grieving while celebrating new life is a recurrent theme in Friend’s writing. She shares her work on and writes a weekly, Sunday newsletter on Substack. 

bottom of page