Tristan Richards :: “Pandemic Plants and Disco Balls” and “Anxiety as the Plant Dying on My Window Sill”

Pandemic Plants and Disco Balls

Sometimes I worry that no one knows anything 
about me, and then, right on the bend of my spiral, 
I remember that at least five of my friends 
have sent me links to the same disco ball planter. 
If nothing else, at least my brand is strong. 
Every sun-touched spot in my apartment glitters 
with plants, and what I mean by that is I have spent 
this season of loss with my eyes on growth. It started 
with a snake plant and a fiddle leaf fig on my first 
frantic pandemic grocery run. My friends bet against 
the third plant immediately and they were correct. 
Now, my favorite afternoons are the ones where I’m caught 
off guard by a spray of light against my wall. It polka dots 
my plants and draws my eye toward the window. 
I don’t have anything new to say about plants 
but I want them anyway, and maybe that’s the point. 
Maybe all I need to do is notice that the snake plant 
is still standing. Maybe today, it’s okay to rest 
on a simple fact and pick up the dropped leaves later.


Anxiety as the Plant Dying on My Window Sill

I know you don’t want to think
about me but I’ve been waiting 
to be watered for so long, for the love 
of god, just keep me alive. You know 

I breathe the oxygen that keeps you 
moving forward, that without me, 
this is just empty space. I’ve watched 
you neglect so many others who looked 

like me, sat on this same ledge, waiting 
for their moment in the sun. Sometimes 
I just want you to look at me instead 
of the cracked parking lot below me

and the post-it littered living room 
behind me. You keep me in the background 
of your zoom calls, you place me strategically 
in your instagram posts, my leaves always 

quietly reaching, hoping someone will notice.
You can’t see the light without looking 
through me first. Why do you only care 
for me when it feels like I’m dying?

Tristan, you know you’re not really 
writing to a plant. Don’t you understand 
that it will always feel like we are dying 
together until you give me a name?

I’m not going anywhere. You’ve sat 
with me long enough to know that 
by now. The winter has been so long and 
I just want to help you learn to breathe.


Tristan Richards (she/her) is a poet and student affairs professional from Minnesota. She is the author of two self-published chapbooks: Not All Challenges Are For Us (2022) and The Year Was Done Right (2019). Her poems are forthcoming or have been published in ALOCASIA, Writers Resist, trampset, Preposition: The Undercurrent Anthology, on the Mankato Poetry Walk & Ride, and in Firethorne. She facilitates Unfold: 30 Days of Writing in Community (a daily Zoom poetry writing workshop throughout April for National Poetry Writing Month) and other writing workshops. Tristan holds an MA in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas and a BA in Communication Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College. You can find her on Instagram at @tristanwritespoems or at