John clips the whole plant to individual branches,
hands us each latex gloves and shears, says
“Cut off the fan leaves, trim the close leaves,”
we start, “but please don’t cut off the crystals”
we nod attentively “that” he says “that
is money.” We don’t want to cut his money.
His children need to eat. They’re asking for new toys.
The smell is overwhelming: it’s fresh cut grass,
and roadkill skunk. I clip the small branches
around the thick buds—there are greens,
dark and pale. Sweet and strong, the sap drips
from the fresh cut stem. Stephen swears he hears
sirens and sees flashing lights, but we’re just harvesting
medicine; we are pharmacists in the living room.
With precise movements, we snip and watch an interview
about a sex-addicted golfer making a comeback.
I’m thumbing through a book.
I read aloud a poem about queer fear and
the husband, father, customer service rep,
and cannabis farmer says “That’s me, I mean,”
he pauses “that poem, I’ve felt that.” I shrug, he’s right.
They’re looking for him like they’re looking for us.
We conspicuously affectionate and unusually effeminate,
needlessly friendly and strangely hungry victims.
We’re clipping off our dead yellow bits and they
are looking for us. They want Stephen and I to burn in hell.
They’re trying to send John to jail. We’re chuckling about
the piles of leaves that stick to our shoes.
We’re telling one another about the open-caskets we’ve seen.
Ruth says she’s tired of being laid off, she
wants to be a mortician because death
never ends and sorrow never goes bankrupt. She
wants people to smile over their dead friends,
to say “They look so peaceful” and eat cookies,
drink punch and hand over the paycheck.
They’re looking for us and when they find us they’ll kill us
and picket our funerals. They’re going to make our parents
cry. The TV interviews will ask “Do you think they deserved it?”
They want to show John’s mugshot on the news,
they want to arrest Ruth and put the kids in foster care.
There’s an odd silence as we sit and clip
and think about our own open-caskets.
There’s more growing in the other room.
The bright lights are blasting through the spaces in
the door frame. The yellow-orange light makes the plants
look vibrant, and makes us look peaked. John says
“There are more clones, we’re adding lights and vents
to this room next week.” There’s a plant that is outgrowing
its bucket, getting stronger and taller.
I ask, “When will this be ready to smoke?” The room
is barewalled. The room is crisscrossed with branches
hanging on twine. “A week or so,” he can’t stop smiling.
The room is a dusty spiderweb of fresh green pot.
We even have to duck and crawl as we exit,
in the dark outside I understand
we are growing stronger and taller.