Julia Mellen

Anna has a basil
turning brown,
in the nicest pot:

a house,
like her mother’s house.

The little thing started dying
the day
she put it there,

away from the plastic tray
of green, tender leaves
in the produce section.

And now
it doesn’t take her water
very well,

losing a leaf
each time
she wets the soil;

dying a little more
when she dries it out:
spotting, and hanging to one side

in the pretty pink pot,
a house
like her mother’s house;

on the window sill
in the kitchen,
where the cat never comes;

refusing to fight on,
like her mother,
surrendering her life

to the nicest house
where nothing ever grew,
but everything

always looked
shiny, and new.

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