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Sept 14, 2022

during the drought

Sara Collie

I’ve been worrying about the sunflowers again.

They hold their tight green fists aloft in defiance,

promising me that everything is in hand. 

I don’t believe them. One eye, screwed firmly 

shut, is not enough to see clearly. They peek

shyly out between the sepals, getting ready 

for the party we’re surely planning in their honour.

The time for such things has passed. No invites

have been sent, though you’re welcome to join me

the day they finally unfurl their faces, lifting them

eastwards en masse to greet the early, still-pale sun. 

You can help with the watering, help me hold back 

the dust, we can dampen it down for at least a morning.

I remember when sunflowers held more hope,

I remember the promises we made in yellow 

fields in the summers of our youth. All that blissful 

ignorance is crumbling now in the interminable heat.

It sends my thoughts whirring around in clichés 

that crack apart like hard baked, barren earth:

it isn’t over until it is; it never rains but it does pour

—or at least it used to. All the while I turn 

the word apocalypse over and over in my mind, 

getting a taste for it. I hadn’t realised there would be

flowers here at the end of days, I wasn’t expecting 

everything to be so ordinary. When rain finally 

comes—a sudden deluge—I can barely fathom it. 

The sunflowers keep sending tiny green fists 

out from their steadfast stems. And me?

I’m trying to trust in yellow again. At least,

for now.

Sara Collie (she/her) is a writer, language tutor, and wandering soul living in Cambridge, England. She has a PhD in French Literature and a lifelong fascination with the way that words and stories shape and define us. Her writing explores the wild, uncertain forces of nature, the complexities of mental health, and the mysteries of the creative process. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Neon Door, The Selkie, Confluence, Synkroniciti, Stonecrop Review, and elsewhere. You can read more of her writing via her website :

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