Ode to the Casualties – Poetry by Vanessa Escobar

To What We Lost – Vanessa Escobar

Incredible imagery in this poem by Vanessa Escobar. It is well worth your time today to take a break, fill your mind with her words, and let the relatability of her story remind you to breathe.

Ode to the Casualties

I’ve learned that a vine is surprisingly resistant. Still thrives
no matter how many times I’ve forgotten to water it.

That a cactus will be fine in a desert but die by your hands
in three months. Rotten at the root. You try but you can’t fix it.

Succulents come and they go. The orchid was merely a visitor.
It was foolish of me to name it after our love.

White petals of hope. Stem snapped at its neck. I left it dead
on my desk for two months until my therapist said I had to throw it away.

I put everything of hers in a box. I washed the bedtime shirts.
Even folded the one sock left behind. Collected her board games

and hair products. Dropped them off at the coffee shop where I had
the chance to turn around and ask her to stay. But I didn’t turn around.

And she didn’t stay. I named the bromelaid Julia and the kalanchoe Zoe
Cruz thinking this would make them last. But Julia was already browning

at its tips and Zoe shriveled up under the sun. The croton almost died
but I found a way to bring it back. Wandered in the September heat

at the plant shop again. I found a calathea and asked it if it was mine
and I knew it was when I couldn’t let it go.


Vanessa Escobar is a 32- year-old queer Latinx poet living the corporate America life but always dreaming of something more. She’s in love with the city of Houston despite no desire to live in the South. She has a nefarious escape artist dog named Stella and is currently at work on her first book of poems.


You can find her at escobarvanessa.com

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