The Wine Cup on my Hood

pink flower in clear glass vase

Someone or something left me a gift today
A wine cup blossom on the hood of my car

I looked around and there were no wine cups or
Other flowers growing near the concrete parking lot

The wine cup, or poppy mallow, as it is known
In nurseries, looks like a small poppy dipped in wine

Of all the Texas wildflowers that could have landed
On the hood of my silver Subaru it is the prettiest

But I don’t think of wine cups as the stuff of bouquets
Or corsages or even fancy flower arrangements

They fade so quickly but this one was quite fresh
The stem appeared to be neatly cut not ripped

It was so delicate and its fragrance so subtle
That I felt it must have been left by fairies

For what human would know its true value
When compared to, say, a dozen red roses

It would not hold even a thimbleful of wine
But I imagine to a bee it would be ambrosia

It is as graceful as a naiad, the water nymph
Callirhoe for whom it is named in Latin I learn

And yet it is a hardy plant resistant to drought
And known for growing in inhospitable places

This Callirhoe of fuchsia petals that cup the dew
Has arrived to tell me something or awaken me

To the possibility of epiphanies on ordinary days
When the supernatural arrives in natural form

Carol Flake Chapman

A former journalist, Carol Flake Chapman returned to poetry, her first love, after the sudden death of her husband on a wild river in Guatemala shattered her life. Poetry, she found, was the language she needed, not only for healing her own wounds but for finding her way to a deeper connection to nature. She has performed her poems in gatherings around the world, and her most recent book is titled Wild Surprises: Stories and Poems About Encounters That Shifted My World.