The wild young October-held hibiscus
called out to the hulking metallic ship keen for the sea;
It extended to the summer-setting sun of horizon—
the one the ship kept sailing into,
puffing grey smoke that smelled of burning leaves—
two well-packed purple buds, luggage left behind at shore.
In October’s breeze they waved like ungloved fists,
seeded reminders of construction begun in the spring.
On the sailing ship, its young lover, leaning on the stern railing,
looking back to shore, thinking about something
he had said way back in April;
looking hard, remarking, Yes, he does look like an hibiscus.
Further, From here it looks as if he’s about to bloom.
But any launch those purple fists considered
must have been defused by the icy wind,
or else grew discouraged one autumn night
by the presence of fewer than forty degrees,
when they tried but failed to break open at the palm
and crack their delicate sun-loving knuckles.
And so the buds never sprang to life,
and from the back of the ship, she said,
Maybe not an hibiscus after all,
no purple flowers to show for himself,
just a couple of limp fists, looking like they’ve been dipped
in watered-down purple paint, left in the rain too long.
That or this sunset came with a matted finish,
or the bay’s caught a fog, or something.
On land its fists indeed shriveled inward,
the hibiscus thinking, She can’t even see me anymore.
And in its frowning, creped fingers atrophied
absolutely every cell of photosyntheticuriosity,
cut off from the care of what might happen
if it opened those purple fists
and said to the sunset, Take these fists with you to sea,
let these blooms be the sky,
let them be the purple in her eyes.