Spouting from a flower-box,
a leaf three feet across waves
at passersby, threatening
or promising to enfold them
in green thoughts otherwise
available only in verse.
Most people ignore this plant
flexing its leaf like a muscle,
but I want to hear it fluster
in gusts of tropical rain blown
thousands of miles from the Gulf
up the Mississippi valley.
I can’t tell if the faint shiver
rippling across this massive leaf
is a farewell or some other thought.
Maybe it’s just enjoying itself
in that semi-sexual way that plants
stretch and preen in the sunlight.
Maybe I could learn something
from tissue more sensitive than mine,
something about touching more gently.
But you’re eager to collect the mail
and learn from cold print how deeply
debt plumbs us, how near the bottom.
When frost arrives and this leaf falls
the village will sigh with relief.
You laugh and drag me away,
leaving the whole plant fluttering
as if some microaggression
has soiled its perfect green day.