Truths and Half-Truths About Sunflowers

One.  There are two kinds of sunflowers: the sunflowers you find in books and poems and the sunflowers that chew through phone wire.  

Two.   When a sunflower looks at itself in the mirror, it does not see gold or ochre or tourmaline.  

Three.   Most believe that sunflowers move towards the light.  I believe that light moves towards the sunflowers.  

Four.   With stems as thick as femurs.  

Five.   The scratching that you hear at night is not the cat or wind or the flaccid branches of the silk tree.  

Six.   Never leave sunflowers alone with purple love-grass, pink parfait roses, or baby’s-breath.  

Seven.   Tell me.  What is the difference between a slouch and a lurch.  

Eight.   Slaked with fuzz and blue-green rot a sunflower will still have the strength to hobble to the foot of your bed.  

Nine.   On the twenty-seventh day of this insufferable heat I will no longer know where the sunflower ends and everything else begins.

—Christine Tierney