Sunflowers

            for Tucker

Sharing the Tuscan August that year,
we knew the depression had returned.
All I could see were fields, hillsides
of the burned center of each yellow iris
dilated with light. Bright as fire,
they slumped heavy with seed, stems
thick as branches, bent
by the weight of regeneration.
All day they regard the sky,
retina and leg,
faceless eyes staring
open, lidless,
no hand to spare them
the duty of constant audience,
the spectacle of the world.

Ashley Crout was born in Charleston, SC, and graduated from Bard College and the MFA program at Hunter College. She is the recipient of a poetry grant from The Astraea Foundation and has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation. Her work has been published in Sojourner, Ponder Review and Dodging the Rain, among others. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her hound, Stella.

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