My mother kills basil.
Too much water.
Sodden roots.

But my basil survives.
No, it thrives.
Urban herb.

Care instructions: gut instinct.
Inch of water.
Mist leaves.

To retrieve: clip bottom.
To slice: chiffonade.

Drop in Sunday gravy.
Ribbon atop pasta.
Drizzle balsamic.

Neurotic checks of soil.
Is it moist?
Or dry?

“How does it feel?”
“A walking stereotype,”
You joke.

Something to care for.
Mothering living things.
Being childless.

But I don’t agree.
It’s self care.
Or compulsion.

I’ll keep it alive.
There’s no alternative.
Committed now.

Who am I kidding?
It’s entrenched behavior.
To kill.

I’ll rip the leaves.
The dying ones.
For comfort.

I’ve ripped the leaves.
Can’t bear decay.
Not mine.

© 2022 Andrea Festa


An Unctuous, Slow-Cooked Love

“Do you wanna get wings after class?”

They weren’t the first words I spoke to Stephen, but they were the first marinated in mustering up the courage to ask him out and bump uglies already.  We were seated in the back of Mr. Duffy’s classroom, me having just royally failed my senior AP History midterm, due largely in part to already being accepted into art school and also because I was distracted by my first real, bawling-in-my-car-outside-Kenny’s-house teenage breakup. I had turned 180 in my seat to face him and breathily proposition an afternoon date: You. Me. Voracious ripping of meat from bone. Red hot smacking of lips. Guys like girls who can eat, I read in a Cosmopolitan once and had inferred from those “didn’t age well” mid-2000’s burger & beer commercials starring chesty bottle blondes and a firehose, inexplicably.


There Are Two Kinds Of Love

There are two kinds of love.

Friends turned lovers.
Lovers turned lifers.

There are two kinds of love.

Mutual back rubs
from pretend boys.

There are two kinds of love.

Freckles, bangs, blue tongue.
Asthmatic laughs.

There are two kinds of love.

but make it gauche.

There are two kinds of love.

Frozen hot chocolate
with real boys.

There are two kinds of love.

The one where I see the cuts,
the steamy mirror glances.

There are two kinds of love.

The one where instead
I write it in a Post Secret.

There are two kinds of love.

One you choose
and one you don’t.

There are two kinds of love.

But you can’t have your cake
and eat it, too.

© 2020 Andrea Festa