It’s me that’s growing. In them
I’m wild things, the faithful and
serene. Bound to the sprouting, budding, open
bloomed wide open
singing, bending heavy
then with life, turning downward
in wind, to sun, with water - shedding,
drooping fat with life, pregnant
leaves, their leaving, all of it
Have you ever smelled a sunflower?
Go for it, put your whole face in.
Mine are big enough
to blotto you
with pure sugar, summer kissing, tongues
licking, rock candy, spinning, over and over
It was barely spring
when I pushed the seeds into the soil I fertilized
with fresh soil and minerals.
They eat minerals, you know.
They eat lead. They leech
everything bad out, the
toxins long been in this land, the cancer
that will get us if it can. They transcend,
feeding bees and birds, tossing pollen,
sex and time. They mesmerize
ghosts and call to the workers.
They make kids so happy!
Then there was drought and I carried
many many many many many buckets
of water. And they grew, boy
did they ever. First tender,
just stems and
sweet little leaves. My dog ate them, lipping
the baby goodness, munching
while giving me the sly eyeballs.
I like that, I didn’t mind -
we kept growing. Eager’s
the only way to call it.
One foot, two foot, three foot, four - fattening even
in belittled soil.
Maybe it was love
or the marigolds underneath
I don’t know exactly
but they never stopped - they grew into and past
the relentless sun. And
the people, the people
loved them back. I only made them a place
where we could be wondrous beings. Once a lady on her bike
rode by hollering, “Sunflowers! Thank you!”
Once a young mother with a pack of kids
taught them how to pet them. Together,
we make. Once
there was an eclipse
and we stood together, me and sunflowers, watching,
connected, rewarded, known
in mystery. Once somebody cut some
for some bouquet for a lover
or their mother or their kitchen table.
I was spitting mad. Who’s entitled
to kill these gifts? Who, if not me?
So they taught me forgiveness
through the rushing growth that never stops -
I saw my arrogance, my
frailty, vulnerability and sin.
It’s not for me to hate the harvest
no matter what form it comes in.
I forgot to tell you about the kittens.
Three of them, black and white, bones
jutting out of their skin like crimes. The shade
made them safe
plus I started feeding them
at the juncture where the stalk meets the dirt. Underneath
there are roots. Everything's not about
what we can see. An entire universe
is working in tandem
to produce this moment
for everything to thrive –
flies, ants, ladybugs, caterpillars, butterflies, birds, cockroaches, any thing
we can dream. How many lives
pass can’t be counted - it’s all I can do
to tend to the sown.
Now it’s hot.
And it rained once, under a lightning
storm. Have you ever held the head
of a sunflower, 12 inches round,
spiraling with seeds? Nothing but seeds! This
how to be human, how
to be loved, to
let go and be let go of
to shine. To find
in the deepest crevice
of my deepest heart
how nothing ever dies.