The Effort of a Word

Purple she said,

and purple she meant,

and purple they were,

the flowers.

I knew a woman once, a refugee,

who could neither hear

nor speak the difference

between the words paw paw,

Pope Paul and purple.

That’s another story.

This purple of the flowers, though,

was a victory of will over assaulted matter,

greyly alzheimic,

almost every  word mashed to incoherence.

But purple,

it leapt from her, it sang.

She wrested it from herself, sound by sound,

the first and the second lip-smacking P,

the soft burr of the middle,

and the tongue coaxing the L against the teeth,

the vestigial desire to connect

melding sound and sense.

And the word soared in the air,

resilient and regal.

I heard it, I received it,

as she had received the flowers I chose

for her favourite colour,

and we beamed  together,

sitting in the ancient,

expansive  ruins of her mind,

at the endurance of purple.