were a rusty, dried blood kind of color
and shed copper drops on the broad sideboard

cupboard under the window. Each time I
came for a visit, there it was, brooding

like a mother hen, refusing to leave
its perch. Grandma would croon to it as she

pruned its awesome foliage back. My aunt,
undaunted, watered it with all the rest

of the plants lined up on the windowsill,
hanging from the curtain rod, obscuring

the view. I tried not to sit in sight of
it or sip my tea too close to it. Once,

I pressed a penny on my tongue for
the taste of it and now I cannot get

rid of it. The taste, I mean. The penny
I had promptly spit right back out. That same

tang infused each cup of tea. Never thought
to ask why the plant sat so close to

the dining table. Keeping my mouth shut,
except to sip, it never occurred to me

to object.