I bought an orchid the other day
in a distant part of this island,
bought it for its exquisite charm;
took the subway -- though, by mistake,
in the wrong direction,
I was surrounded by crowds
casting skeptical glances
at the delicate calyces,
which seemed to shrink in despair,
less certain than an animal
about the quality of life
at the final destination.
I switched trains in Brooklyn,
a positive move!
A man stood up so the plant
could ride on his seat. “Good luck,”
he said with a friendly sneer.
Arrived at my place on the Upper West,
the plant sat for a day,
considered its options, then withered,
dropped flowers and buds like worn-out shoes,
shedding leaf after leaf after leaf.
Stood naked for a week or two,
then dissolved into sheer dust.
was the miserable fate
of my favorite plant crossing Manhattan.