Nothing I plant lives. I have tried the indestructible: basil, mint, zucchini. “Be careful,” they tell me. “They will overrun your garden.” I kill them. I buy eggplant, tomato, chives, parsley. I buy aloe. They wilt in the sunlight, in the water-love, in the soil. I try again. I plant flowers. I raise beds. I buy pots. I touch them, they die.

My brother smashes a pumpkin in the yard. Pumpkins grow. My mother’s mutt eats the pumpkins before I can properly envy nature’s handiwork.

In the Arizona sun I have tiny successes: a small, hot pepper already growing when I buy the seedling. It turns red in my care, then gets knocked off the stem by the wind or a passing neighbor. I am convinced someone stole it, start developing a case around who could have taken in it. I find it on the ground. I leave it on my counter and it wrinkles before I can eat it.

Another: Two bright red tomatoes I am not sure if I have let over-ripen. I pick them and can’t convince myself to try them. “You’re not going to eat them?” My mother says. No. She pops them in her mouth. “Delicious!”

I move the plants to the shade, I lovingly wipe aphids from the underbellies of leaves, I dig wells into the potted dirt so I can direct the water to the root. ¬†They die. I procrastinate pulling them from the pots but leave them neglected; the monsoon rain brings back to life a basil plant I’ve left untended for months.¬†

Pots sit empty for months, filling up space in the driveway. My husband says, “Can’t you get rid of them? You’re not using them.” I cannot. I steel myself against purchasing another thing I know I will kill. I pass the six-inch plants looking for a home at the natural grocery store. I pause.

“I wish I could garden,” a friend says when she sees my newly-purchased seedlings. Me too.