A poem. By Sarah Koenig

Sometimes when you’re home for two weeks
recovering from double pneumonia
you find yourself picking the leaves
from the stems of three live bunches of watercress
for a liver-cleansing soup.
The recipe said: Separate the leaves from the stems.
The effort this requires is ridiculous
because first you need to cut
the watercress free from its base of live dirt
and rinse in a bowl,
then a colander
then set on paper towels to dry
and each of these steps you do
in ten-minute increments because
you have to go back to the couch and rest.
You’re trying to go Buddhist with the whole thing,
just slow the fuck down
but inside you is Gwyneth Paltrow
wanting you to clean out not one but two
closets which you shouldn’t do
but did, yesterday—
and today hit a wall of fatigue.
It’s true, the Buddhists are right—
you need to slow down
and if you don’t
double pneumonia will make you.
We rolled around in a hospital bed
like star crossed lovers.
But as you pick the watercress leaves from the stems,
you may discover a new love for these little leaves,
diffidently growing from their patch of live dirt.
They fall away into the bowl –
they have the slightest skin,
like ice just formed on a pond.