Since the lime-green shoots first appeared,

the sunflower clusters sprawled


and climbed. The wooly heads hover

above the privet hedge. They rise over


windows of a wood shed, a narrow

fieldstone fence, above wooden stakes


between rows of corn and dahlia stalks.

All the while no one sees the hair-thin roots


reach for rain or droplets rise in the spindled

stems, the yellow faces unfold. Daily the mind


goes deaf and blind. If I could hear a hum

in the hairy cones or buds burst into yellow


fire, if I could see the cells expand, leaves

taper to tips, I would stop in my tracks,


and with silver poplar leaves—applaud,

my breath carried away by the gods.



Kay Mullen’s poems have appeared in Cross Winds Poetry Review, San Pedro River Review, American Life in Poetry, as well as other journals and anthologies. She has authored three books of poetry. Mullen lives and teaches in Tacoma.

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