Kay Mullen: “If I Could”


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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