Hibiscus Remembered

I remember the potted hibiscus
you bought me when
your doctor said “terminal.”
You dug it down into the waiting earth
at the corner of the modest house
we’d shared for decades. 

Those coral seas splashed the shady corner
during the loopy restlessness of your dying hours,
your hallucinations becoming giant orange blooms,
a neon nightmare pinning me to the hospital wall
among the vines of your mad monologues.

Now, you ghost me like a tropical fiesta,
the potpourri of buds climbing the trellis,
as you once climbed me, your legs
like a sailor’s on the mast of my body,
your arms clasping me in the buried treasure
of eternal sunsets.


Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in Poetry Salzburg, ParisLitUp, Meniscus, Shi Chao Poetry, Journal of Italian Translation, Agenda, Stand, and others. Her work has been translated into Italian, Chinese, Japanese and German. She has been nominated numerous times for the Pushcart Prize and has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Poetry on the Lake, and other organizations. Her seventh and most recent book of poems is Edges.