The Hibiscus

Sarah Grieve

          — after Roethke

I can’t uncurl crocus-like — my jaw doesn’t slacken

                     at the smell of bees or the clip

of oars through the Saginaw’s pre-dawn stretch.

                     Instead the constant noontime has made me

loose, a running-stitch meant to hold the hem

                     for later thimble-taut handiwork.

I don’t keep well. Can’t move from hothouse pot

                     to window-box because I’ve never

learned the thrift of hard winters — frugal tuck of leaf

                     and sun leaning. The Geranium survived

on alleyway scraps and shrieks, turned ashes

                     to compost in an alchemy of muck.

She still got canned. Let the litany of my petals

                     line your bin — I’d rather be that lonely.

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