Do You Know What a Wildflower Is?

Growing up, I spent summers with grandma.
On our little island,
I spent time alone
in the woods and at the cove,
climbing trees and naming bees.
I was friends with the crabs
and knew where the starfish lived.
I caught quarter-sized jellyfish
in mason jars
and watched them glow, in the dark,
sitting on rocks under the dock.

And, one day, as I ran
up the deer trail,
back up to the house,
I checked for frogs
under every single rock.
I ran past the tree with the two mossy trunks,
ran fast, as the leaves kept cheering me on,
and the light fought its way
through their canopied leaves
finding me, casting its kiss on my cheeks.
As I ran past the old Wedgwood front gate,
I stumbled upon a flower
as tiny as my nail;
soft purple, a day dream,
the prettiest thing I’d ever seen.
I picked it.
Holding it by its gentle stem,
I kept running until I reached
the glass door of the wooden cabin
where I found my grandma
standing in front of the
kitchen sink, singing.

I showed her my treasure from deep in woods,
the one I picked, with the trees and the bees,
revealing its tiny purple smile
in my tiny soft hands.

My grandma looked at me,
at my wild tangled hair
and my dirt stained jeans
at my scraped up knees.
She looked into my eyes,
wild and green,
and for the first time,
and for the last time,
she scolded me.

That was the last time I picked a wildflower.

I look at him. His brown skin is salty from the sea
his eyes are sad and watching me
and my cheeks are wet
and my skin, my skin, my cheeks,
they’re salty too.
I look at him.
He can see the rising seas
in my eyes, wild and green, as I try to explain to him
what my grandma once explained to me.

“My girl,”
she once said.
“You can’t just pick every pretty thing you see.”
And she put that flower
in a glass vase on a shelf,
in front of where she liked to sing.
As the days passed by
I watched as the petals
into the sink.

“My man,”
I say, with wild hair and scraped up knees,
my grandmas voice, inside of me.
“You can’t just pick every pretty thing you see.”

Do you know what a wildflower is?