A Man in Love with Plants

I’ll start this by transforming his last words.
Help me, please! becomes I have gone upon a mission.
That’s how my uncle spoke, each word precise,
although he did not have much
education, his childhood drab as dirt
assailed the floorboards of a leaning shack.

Outside his final house, he worships life
held in hibiscus buds, red as new-
spilt blood. Roses shade the path.
Yellow orchids make him beam,
jasmine does the same even when
a gang plucks his last breath.

He lies as if awake, feet aimed up at the ceiling,
hole gaping through his golden suit –
self-made, a tailor since a child
in love with floral cloth. I know
he’d seek more plants to bless
his garden-church beyond the house.

Jenny Mitchell, “A Man in Love with Plants” from Resurrection of a Black Man (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2022). Copyright © 2022 by Jenny Mitchell. Used with the permission of poet.