After so long, you woke me to tell me they had begun. The forming of sunflowers. No trace yet of their future black and gold. The I at the green centre. Radials around the heart. Stalks will bend in the carrying of the black heart. They lean on dead wood, are tied to it, lest they fall to earth. The canes. Snail and slug decimate leaves, leaves like fine-grade sandpaper, leaving ragged patterns of air where green was once. They come at night, on momentous journeys along a wall, over stones like sierras. We find them by torchlight, remove them to a place of safety. Ours. Some plants grow taller, some fail altogether, in a certain slant of sun, before the warmed brick of a cottage under a hill. --- Mark Mayes has had poems and stories published in various places. 2017 saw publication of his novel, The Gift Maker . Mark also enjoys writing songs.