jacaranda

I once wrote a poem about jacaranda

Jac-a-ran-da

My parents told me that’s a word I said

When I was quite small

I always remember the word

Like the smell of the steam from our toy train

Like the sound of mom’s familiar cough

The word that describes those bright purple flowers

Adorning the sky-high branches that grew all around the small town

That I called home

 

I once wrote a poem about jacaranda

The beautiful purple flowers that grow on the trees that line Bennett Avenue

The very avenue that I walked up and down with jovial steps

Now, as an adult, with a place of my own, in a new city,

I used to look up and admire the colors and height and magnificence of those

Though, if I’m being honest

There was a point when I stopped looking up

A whole period of time, actually,

One year and six months and one week, to be exact

Instead, I looked down

Down at the fingers intertwined with my own

Across at the blue-green eyes gazing back at me

Listened to the sound of hopes and future and forever in his words

I stopped looking at the purple flowers up above

Until I walked that avenue again alone

I walked alone,

Knowing he would walk that path again soon

Fingers intertwined much too soon with someone else’s

For months I walked on other paths

I avoided the painful steps down that avenue crowned with purple flowers

Telling myself they are probably bare and disheveled

Who am I kidding? It’s California, where flowers bloom all year round

I thought jacaranda might be lost, ruined by the aftertaste of love broken

Until today

I finally braved that walk again

And looked, truly looked

The flowers are more of a pink, really, a magenta hue

The blooms too sparse to be the beloved flower I had always thought them to be

Not jacaranda at all, but an unimpressive substitute that paled in comparison

 

I once wrote a poem about jacaranda

When I realized the flowers along the path I feared

Were not these delightful purple beauties, after all

And maybe starting over only required taking a closer look at what was already there

 

I once wrote a poem about jacaranda

And soon made clear it was not about jacaranda at all.

jacaranda-trees-in-bloom-south-africa

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