I want you to live without me,
the time has come for you to spread your petals,
to hop and flutter.
I knew I couldn’t fly
but still I left her, not without regrets
or longing, but knowing I was
so much more than the helianthus
I once was.
I was ready to seek another light.
We need to make some changes
in your environs.
You won’t be sunning in the garden
with your new genetic sequence.
I was just a slothful sunflower,
but Dædelia transformed me: chlorophyll
to hemoglobin, bilaterally symmetric,
bipedal, my leaves and florets—all reshaped.
She made me human, near enough.
You’ll have a tendency to stare
into the sun. You’ll have to wear
these welding goggles.
I grew upward, climbed through windows
and apologized, took staircases
wherever they were found,
and in the darkness I hibernated fitfully
with horticultural memories whispering
advice that I ignored.
And so the days passed by.
I didn’t make a lot of friends,
but soon enough I swapped
my goggles for Armani’s.
I found paid work in a tanning salon:
Salon de Tan,
rented a small suburban box
in Florianópolis, and every night
I gazed into a sunlamp
in heliotropic solitude.
On one passing Sunday
I visited Copernicus Park,
and chanced upon a stand
I thought I was discrete
in my fluorescent lemon track suit
with matching jogger’s headband,
but they recognized their long lost kin
and turned themselves to face me.
How far I’d risen in my gyre,
Icarus with UV warning signs.
I’d left Dædelia far behind,
but in a solar flash, I saw her
in my mind
with the one who took my place.
I have no explanation,
no rationale or logic,
but on an impulse I returned
that very night
in a fire-retardant track suit
with a box of matches
and a flamethrower.
I burned those carefree sunflowers
to blackened stubble and floral smoke.
about the sun