One year ago I pressed sunflower seeds Gently into soil Watered them and waited They were small sprouts Through the spring As the world shut down And live upended They had just made it Over the fence When the streets Burst into flames and Riot fully blooming By the time the statues came down I gathered their seeds Before this winter with no mercy I burned them tonight Their stalks and a few broken Fence boards Sent smoke singable Into the clear spring air The red breath swam Through their ashes Before this year I had never thought What is means To just Breathe My clothes and hair smell of smoke The burnt remains of what dared To shoot green and gold Exclamations of joy Into this year A fitting offering When I go to bring This year’s seedlings in Against the cold night air I reach into the ashes Scatter a handful to the wind Marking this moment With mourning and gratitude So much loss It staggers me So I thank the sunflowers Who saw me through it all Seed to ash Flower to flame Soil to sky
Poem by Rachel Loughlin
Rachel Loughlin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University where she won the Undergraduate Poetry Award. She is a graphic designer, eternally optimistic gardener, runner, muralist, and writer living in Richmond, Virginia. Rachel explores the intersections of nature, sensuality, darkness and light, and deconstructed spirituality through her poetry.