March 13, 2021

One year ago
I pressed sunflower seeds
Gently into soil
Watered and waited
They were small sprouts
As the world shut down
And life upended
They had just made it
Over the fence
When the streets
Burst into shouts and
Riot fully blooming
By the time the statues came down
Their seeds were gathered
Before this merciless winter
Still waiting for healing
Still waiting for justice
I burned them tonight
Dry stalks sent smoke signals
Into the clear spring air
The red breath swam
Through their ashes
Before this year
I had never thought
What it means
To just Breathe
My clothes and hair smell of smoke
The burnt remains of what dared
To still shoot green and gold
Exclamations of joy
Into this year
A fitting offering
When I go out to bring
The new seedlings in
Against the cold night air
I will reach into the ashes
Scatter a handful to the wind
Mark mourning and gratitude
Seed to ash
Flower to flame
Soil to sky

Photo of burning sunflowers courtesy of Rachel Loughlin.