Just know that as you read this sentence you’re becoming something.
Do you feel it?
My homegirl pulled up to my driveway as I tried my hardest not to blackout. Nothing in life stays still. There’s a sunflower striking a pose on my windowsill. If it could speak, what would it say about this all? These days it feels like I mourn myself everyday the sun comes up; as if by the time I manage to find the right words, I’ve already outgrown them and become something else. I wonder why things that feel good feel good. There’s a sunflower wilting on my windowsill. Crippled from thirst, broken petals halo around it. Gold teeth washed in codeine, I see them on any given day speaking on forever as if they know it. My homegirl pulled up to my driveway when she told me about addiction.
TIP #1: An optimal time to plant sunflowers is late Winter, once the last frost is passed.
My heart hasn't stopped beating since it started. My mom looked at my baby face one night and said the world would destroy me. She often let loose concepts that stood taller than I was; telling me in time I would grow to appreciate said baby face. I used to hate it. My baby teeth fell out one by one. The babies around me grew up far too quick. In the absence of sunlight, budding sunflowers point in the direction of where the sun would’ve been. Pink tongues with pills at their center, I see them on any given night describing forever as if they know it. Babies around me wound up in places absent of light, pointing in directions they felt they’d find it. Nothing in life stays still. Broken petals halo around them one by one. My baby face never flinched. My mom just grew another grey hair.
TIP #2 Sunflower seedlings need plenty of water while establishing themselves. Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
If my grandmother drops anything in the ground, it will grow. I’m trying to learn how to let things go. Smoke escapes your lips as you tell me about forever. You might know it. The smoke starts out thick and defined, steadily detaching from itself before disappearing all together. You got an incoming text and what was a black, colorless silence explodes with a beep which fills the room before petering back into silence. You have an image of the two of us somewhere in your phone. You told me to stay still. If that sunflower could speak, I wonder how it would describe water. I have the image of your body somewhere in my mind. My memory of nights pixelated, your every curve in high definition; I wonder how that sunflower would describe sun. I wonder why things that feel good feel good.
TIP #3: A sunflower’s head is comprised of thousands of smaller flowers growing independent of one another; some with male reproductive organs and others female. Sunflowers have the ability to self-pollina––WE WERE FADED AT A PARTY WHEN YOU CALLED A CAB. I SAW YOU IN THE REAR VIEW BEFORE I FELT YOU IN THE BACKSEAT.
Know that as you read this sentence you’re not alone.
Out of millions, generally only one sperm reaches the egg. Standing taller than that one is a plan it can't comprehend; it just goes. Its image illuminated our then collective baby faces in a dark classroom. I wondered if it knows why it goes. Or is it all just chemical? My mom looked at my baby face and said life isn’t about me. That was back when houses had phones and phones had cords. They only extended so far. You’re a little too used to home just like I am. You want to go. You want to see the world just like I do. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch; I’m starting to know your surface well. Whatever’s below it still isn’t clear. And once it is, will I be too used to you? And you to me? My phone is backlit. Your back was moonlit. The moon has footprints on it. Because even the world is something we can get too used to. Do we know why we go? Does it just feel good? Is it just chemical? My grandmother dropped my grandfather in the ground. I don't know a love like theirs. I don't know what it's like to stay still for 60 years. There’s a dead sunflower on my windowsill. It didn't last a week. From out of frame, my mom would routinely put the house phone to my baby face. “It's mum.”
TIP #4 Sunflowers have long taproots that need to stretch out. Those growing too close together will compete and not blossom to their full potenti––LETS NOT GET TOO CLOSE. TODAY I READ ABOUT CARING FOR SUNFLOWERS. I HADN'T UNTIL I KILLED ONE. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME A THING THAT STARTS WILL STOP. EVEN IF YOU TAKE CARE OF IT. MY MOM LOOKED AT MY BABY FACE AND SAID THERE WAS A LOT OF LOVE OUT THERE I HAD YET TO LOSE. YOU STRUCK A POSE BY THE WINDOWSILL. I'M LEARNING HOW TO LET THINGS GO. OUR PUPILS DILATE WHEN IN LOVE. SEROTONIN, NOREPINEPHRINE, AND DOPAMINE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FEELING. THEY ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW COCAINE FEELS. THIS FEELING DOESN'T LAST. SOME GO CHASING FOR IT WHEN IT LEAVES. THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANSWERING MACHINES WHEN MY GRANDMOTHER WAS MY AGE. THAT WAS BACK WHEN PHONES WERE ROTARY. MY MOM WOULD HAND ME OUR HOUSE PHONE BACK WHEN PHONES WERE TOUCH TONE. NOW THEY AREN'T. NOW THEY GO WITH US. NOW THEY HAVE CAMERAS. NOW IS NOW AND NOW BECOMES THEN QUICKER THAN IT USED TO. LIFE ISN'T ABOUT ME, MOM SAID. SHE JUST GREW ANOTHER GREY HAIR. I'M BECOMING MORE LIKE HER. MAYBE IT’S NOT MY LIFE BUT RATHER MY TURN––reaching for the surface, the seedlings rapidly grow against the gravitational pull, which lets it know to grow upward. With the help of highly sensitive light-sensing proteins, they find the shortest route to sunlig––WE’VE LEFT THE SOIL. OR SIMPLY COME UP FOR AIR. THERE ARE FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON, I MEAN. AND WHERE ARE WE GOING? REGARDLESS, WE’RE GOING. EVERYTHING IS. EVERYTHING MUST. I WONDER HOW THAT SUNFLOWER WOULD TELL IT. OLD FOLKS SAY TO LIVE MORE IN THE MOMENT BUT HOW POWERFUL IS IT THAT WE CAN TAKE A MOMENT, A FEELING DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF ITS DEPARTURE, AND HOLD IT STILL? I FORGET WHERE I WAS GOING WITH THAT BUT THE MAIN POINT IS