Shannon Pulusan :: “PLANT SITTER”

At the center of your life,                                    you’re creating forest air
               in a friend’s apartment.              You place a ceramic bowl
beside each plant pot                 & pour water.               Humidity,

the dewy breath of company.                                        Of imaginary beings
                sipping from the bowl                  little by little. You refill,
wonder                              where clouds form                       in this water cycle?

Wonder where everyone’s gone to?                               Last night
                you dreamt                              & remembered everything 
come morning.                              The neighbor girl, first love,

carpool, cousins                                        of your cousins.
                You welcomed them                          in the basement level
of your childhood                          home. Blurry,                      how familiar you are

to people of the past.                                       You called everyone’s name
                  first & last,                     served water
by collecting the stream                           from a leaking                             pitcher.

Everything is so tedious,                                            but you stay still
               in this place that keeps you.                         When those you dream of
forget the skyline                           & the exact hours                              when it’s blue

& blush & gray & coin                                              all at once,
              know home is truly                      where
every bench you sit on                                  faces the river                & where

a samoyed will sniff                                         your shoelaces. It’s nice
              to be the one                      to depend on
to cherish                            the little reasons                            & the future

of one’s roots.                                       You fill each bowl
               set beside each plant pot             & message your friend
to say                   everything’s been                       cared for.


Shannon Pulusan is a Fil-Am writer, illustrator, plant tita, and arts education administrator based in Jersey City. Her poetics explore how foodways, superstition, and the natural world can offer reparative insight and joy. Her poems appear in Ecotone, Pigeon Pages, SRPR, underblong, and more. She has received support from ARTS by the People, Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and Brooklyn Poets, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Rutgers University-Newark.