There are three objects decaying in my apartment as I write.
One, a plant that has long since perished after a summer apart and the resulting dehydration.
Two, a jar of sourdough starter that has since developed its own malignant growth.
Three, a pot of chicken pho that was already in the process of decomposition before I started it.
The plant I received as a "feel better" incentive from my parents, who listened as I wailed into the phone after my first lover left me for the second time. Or at least, that's how I tell the story. The Truth of the matter is probably a bit different, but recall was never my strong point, that, plus a few shades of rosy nostalgia and now the photographs exude more blush than sepia. It sits on a wicker side table next to the television. I think that one day I will dispose of it, and I thought that day was long ago, but there it sits, next to the TV, fading into the backdrop of my quotidian life. Except for the times I remember to look, and there it remains, dead. Perhaps the holding on is about a subconscious belief that if I wait long enough it will come back to life.
The jar, a relic of another lover, carried across country with the hope that life could persist despite the distance. A spreading of spores--selective migration--diaspora. Fed and furnished for the first several beats, the starter grew in size, expanding, in(corp)orated its surroundings, turned raw material into and onto its body. However, forgotten in the far corner of the fridge, what used to fester with potential lied dormant for a year, before two, expiring for lack of air, lack of care, lack of attention to the signs that time was working. A streak of black marks the side of the jar where a new life grows on from the inside, visible to me, but now inextricable from the death of the life that birthed it.
The pot of pho will soon be tossed out. Ignited from the remains of a previous performance, the pot marinated bones of fresh flesh, a charred root of ginger, the singed outer layer of an onion, and a few stars of anise. The bodies that seeped into the surrounding waters. The comfort in a familiar scent. The warmth as I drank you in on this brisk Fall night. Garnished in fresh scallions and cilantro: there was life here. But leaves wilt, fat floats, and I am still hungry for more.