My Hibiscus Flower

Her

I

The last time I saw him was at eight in the morning, 

walking away from my apartment, holding the Hibiscus flower

between his hands – a reminder of the solitary nights we shared.

I said, once it blooms, I will return. Keep my memory in a box;

keep my keychain, and the echoing sounds of hope beside your locks.

And that was the last time I saw him,

alone, with my Hibiscus flower, before he left.

I stood there shivering, trying to face the loss

of what I just had in front of me, and the memories came trickling in.

Oh, the verses of romance I recited, smiling to myself,

thinking of us, entangled, in semi-darkness.

But he always left, at first light,

and I wished he would stay and keep the fire ablaze.

And now, everything is finished,

I am leaving this city.

II

I was dropped off at the airport later that day,

I was sure he would come and grant me one last goodbye.

I ran around in circles, searching frantically between all the faces,

looking for those hungry eyes that always left me breathless. 

My eyes burned,

drowning the yearning of my desperate heart.

This was it and I wished to be taken back,

I wanted to hear his voice tell me he still cared.

No one came, and I collected my things

and boarded the plane, dreading the destination.

III

Years passed,

the passion we found in each other lay dormant.

Until last night, when he wrote me;

do you remember who we used to be?

And the regret of the last five years came rushing in,

the broken promises burned and crumbled between us.

How could I forget? My heart has not yet mended –

he never came back.

Our fragile flame became ashes instead,

that spelt out everything we did not say.

I never saw him all that I wanted, his long absence

always left me lonely, with no one beside me, but my Hibiscus flower.

*

Him

I felt the cold fall air fill my lungs, I was breathing with difficulty,

on this Sunday that will forever remain branded in my memory.

Clutching the plant, I counted my steps towards the taxi,

one, two, three, this love is ending.

And her voice echoed inside me, perhaps for the last time,

my body begged for her warmth, one more time. 

I promised to care for it, I told her,

thinking of the fragile little Hibiscus flower she loved so dearly.

And that was the last time I saw her,

before turning my back, remembering all that we lived.

Oh, the nights we spent alone, long after everyone had left,

just us, reading poetry together, 

and the morning dawn discovering us,

after planting our silhouettes into her bed.

I never wanted our time to end, but it always did and

I was left to question if love exists.

And now she is leaving, and I will stay behind,

wandering, searching for that missing piece.

II

I could not say goodbye to her – farewells never brought me any solace;

there is no comfort in absence, no way to fill that emptiness.

Standing behind the gates,

I saw her searching between the crowds.

But fear engulfed me; I watched her instead, 

trying to remember the details of the face that kept me restless.

I saw her cry, but knowing what lay ahead for her

kept me from taking her back in time.

I waited until her plane took off, hoping, praying

that she would be all right, and I walked away swallowing my pride.

III

The seasons came and went,

all but a few of the leaves on the Hibiscus flower had fallen.

My fingers stumbled on an old keychain by accident,

and I wrote her a letter, out of desperation – do you remember?

When we walked together, holding on to promises,

as hope that we would stay like this forever. 

We have nothing left but a few photos that remind me,

we crossed paths at one point in history.

I kept busy with work, but all along

I knew, I felt, I saw my mistakes.

But I still clung onto the hope of her return, I watered her favorite plant,

and despite the abundant water, it shriveled and dried, and she never came back.

I am left now to erase her name from my heart,

and search for a new Hibiscus flower.

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