Old Woman With Protea Flowers, Kahalui Airport

She wears the run-down slippers of a local
and in her arms, five rare protea
wrapped in newsprint, big as digger pine cones.
Our hands can’t help it and she lets us touch.
Her brother grows them for her, upcountry.
She’s spending the day on Oahu
with her flowers and her dogs.   Protea
for four dogs’ graves, two for her favorite.
She’ll sit with him into the afternoon
and watch the ocean from Koolau.
An old woman’s paradise, she tells us,
and pets the flowers’ soft, pink ears.

Poem copyright �© 2007 by Kathleen Flenniken, whose most recent book of poetry is “Famous,” University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Poem reprinted by permission of the author.
More Poems by Kathleen Flenniken