Sunflowers in a field.
They gorge on seed. They rise
To rest along the power line, then fall
Like drizzled lemon drops, like lozenges
Of candied yellow light.
Two weeks a year, goldfinches
Gather on sunflowers here.
These evenings after supper,
You see them in the honey-soft glow
As if they'd trapped and somehow stored
The rapture of September's sun.
You see goldfinches flicker
Among sunflower lanes,
Through mortal tides of light,
Through streams of apricot and chardonnay,
And you resolve to live
Your life with greater sympathy.
Sunflowers bowing their char black dials,
Their petals twist and writhe
Like fires, like silk coronas blazing west.
How inconceivable, then,
The pewter cold-front clouds,
The shabby settlement of crow and wren.
Though no one hears the oath,
You shall, you tell yourself,
Forgo deceit, increase the tithe.
Atone. Forgive. Embrace. You watch
Goldfinches and sunflowers both
Begin to fade. By subtle green degrees
They shed that bullion luster of the sun
Until the finches ricochet
Like flints among the drowsing flower heads.
Perhaps, as I have done,
You'll pace the darkling half mile home,
Intent on picking up the telephone
To reconcile with long-lost friends.
You will apologize, concede.
You'll vow to never, ever, ever let
Such distance grow again.
But then you reach your door and find
The day diminished to a thin blue rind
Of light above the township silhouette.
How nice a hot bath sounds.
Dessert. An herbal tea.
Perhaps you'll read the Arts
And Leisure pages of The Daily News.
With every stair you climb
Sleep settles just a little more behind
The knees, beneath the shoulder blades.
The calls, you tell yourself,
Perhaps some other time.
The Southern Review