Devin Miller :: “Guttation, Transformation”

Lex on my doorstep, her arms wrapped around a potted monstera deliciosa, smiling. The plant’s fenestrated leaves sway in the breeze, viridescent and bigger than dinner plates. My eyes must be nearly as big.

“Erika,” Lex breathes, almost like she’s surprised to see me answering my door. “Hi.” She hitches the plant up her hip and tilts toward me. I press forward to kiss her. Leaves shield us from the sky, brush our shoulders, unavoidably part of the kiss. Lex whispers into the corner of my mouth, “The plant is for you.”

We make space on the coffee table for it, water it, stand back with bodies intertwined to admire it. I think back to our conversation a few weeks ago, Lex’s gentle caution: I don’t think it’s fair to give you something you have to take care of without your permission. Me, melting full of wonder, I love you for asking first.

In the morning, Lex still sleeping, I drift barefoot into the living room to look at the plant. Droplets of liquid cling to the edges of the leaves. In the tentative morning light they are luminous, promising as crystal balls.

A shuffle of feet, and Lex puts her chin on my shoulder, one hand on my waist. “It’s not dew,” she says, dawn-quiet. “It’s guttation. The plant pushing out xylem sap and excess moisture. I thought maybe–well, I remembered what you said about what happened with birch sap when you were a kid, how you wanted that again.”

Monstera deliciosa. It strikes me as familiar, as beautifully queer: monstrous and delicious. Something like the way I feel when Lex presses me against a wall and says, Erika, what do you want me to do to you? 

I kneel before the plant. It is vividly, wildly green. The drop of liquid on the rim of the nearest leaf makes me want. To see what the plant will give me, what Lex has given me, what I could become if–.

I lean forward and stretch out my tongue to swallow the monstera’s guttation.

Lex makes a soft noise. I look up. Her lips are parted too. I take her hand, kiss her wrist bone, and hold on while I drink every drop of liquid off the monstera’s leaves.

Later, lying in the patch of sunshine on my bed, I feel myself beginning to photosynthesize. Lex picks up my hand, examines my forearm. “Your veins are very green,” she murmurs. I nod. She’s right.

“Thank you,” I whisper, breath hitching on it. “Nobody’s ever been so ready to–so supportive–most people would think it’s weird.”

“I don’t think it’s weird to want your body to be different than it was before,” Lex says, wry smile beautiful. I run my thumb over the curve of her jaw.

“It’s probably temporary,” I say, reaching up to feel where my hair tangles with new leaf stalks, the leaves just beginning to unfurl. “What happened with the birch sap was temporary.”

Lex shrugs. “The monstera is yours now. It won’t transpirate every day, but when you’ve watered it recently–what I’m saying is–” she stumbles, blushing. “Nobody can stop you from choosing this.”

She traces a finger over the vines in my wrist. Overwhelmed, I kiss her, wondering if she can taste the green aliveness in my mouth. When she pulls away and runs the tip of her tongue over her lip, I know. She can taste it.

Originally published in Factor Four Magazine. 


Devin Miller is a queer, genderqueer cyborg and lifelong denizen of Seattle, with a love of muddy beaches to show for it. Their short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, PodCastle, and Strange Horizons. Their poetry received an honorable mention in the 2022 Rhysling Awards and once appeared on a King County Metro bus terminal. You can find Devin under a tree, probably, or at