Desert Daze and Darkness

Dry Desert Daze and Darkness

She walked along a pathway
in her arid corner of desert,
desolate, alone. She knew
that Oleander had been
planted here, sheltering
the rich and famous who lived
in rich and famous homes—
homes (now abandoned after
years of rainless days.)

These dense shrubs tried to defy
the drought. Tiny flowers
of pink, white, struggled, straggled
to survive between limp leaves
whose color faded more each
year. A rattler seeking sanctuary
from sweltering sun slithered
away to the east. Disappoint
ment surged in her soul.

And so she grabbed a handful
of leaves and buds, headed home
with bravado and brewed
a pot of tea large enough for the
digitalis compound to do its part
to slow her heart. Slowly, slowly
slowly allowing it to steal life from her,
the life she gladly offered.

When she sat to drink the deadly
draught, her Maltese pup
snuggled at her side, his chocolate
eyes begging for a sip.

She couldn’t.
Could she?

Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

A dark narrative poem for Bjorn’s Poetics Prompt at dVerse Poets. The Pub Master asks us to write a poem that has reference to a poisonous plant. It used to be that Oleander was used as a center divider on California highways and in the Country Clubs and such communities in the Palm Springs area as a privacy screen. It grows to be high and very dense. Every part of the plant is poisonous.

18 thoughts on “Desert Daze and Darkness

  1. Singledust says:

    oleander grows well in the tropics too and I wrote mine on this beautiful but deadly plant. I felt her sadness and hopelessness and she brewed a whole pot, wondering if she thought she might have company. Lovely Victoria!


  2. Candy says:

    the mood of this matches the darkness hiding in those beautiful poisonous plants


  3. wolfsrosebud says:

    Not your norm, having a bad day or stretching your writer’s wings?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beverly Crawford says:

    What a deliciously dark tale! I appreciated the history of oleander as well. Bravo


  5. lynn__ says:

    No, she couldn’t with those eyes looking at her!


  6. Shawna says:

    I adore the second stanza — especially how you broke the word “disappoint/ment,” making the next line sound like a “mint surge in her soul.” That is awesome. 🙂


  7. This is very good, Victoria. It is definitely dark.


  8. This poem surprised me with it’s ending. Love the feeling of heat and desolation that I get from the second stanza.


  9. MNL says:

    oh wow, pretty intense. How could she bear to leave her little dog — but it would also be sad to take him with her? Maybe it’s not too late? Cliffhanger ending for a poem. I like it.


  10. Your poem is infinitely sad as you describe the desperation and desolation of hopelessness by your desert house imagery, and then we are only left with the haunting question: if we are capable of killing ourselves, what makes us think that we couldn’t kill another, an innocent one with chocolate eyes?


  11. kim881 says:

    Oleander has a beautiful name and flowers, it’s hard to believe that it’s toxic. I like the description of how:
    These dense shrubs tried to defy
    the drought. Tiny flowers
    of pink, white, struggled, straggled
    to survive between limp leaves
    whose color faded more each
    A fitting metaphor for this poignant story of possible suicide.


  12. Such a beautiful plant, such dark thought. My mother had a plant indoor… but we were always warned.


  13. mhmp77 says:


    Such a moving story. One couldn’t imagine an overdose could be lethal but the right dosage was a relief



  14. rothpoetry says:

    I like your desert story that in the end leaves us hanging!! Very nice!


  15. […] via Desert Daze and Darkness — Victoria C. Slotto, Author […]


  16. Sue says:

    Dark alright….


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