Paling light of October gloaming
Sombers and shadows the top-heavy sunflowers,
Their black disks bowed to the dusty ground
On thick stems, thirsty stems.
All day, their faces have traced the sun's sphere
East to west, then down, out of sight.
On his passage from barn to farmhouse,
My father, on impulse, gathers several flowerheads
In his massive, work-worried hands
As a natural token of his seasoned love
For my sweetly waiting mother
In the golden kitchen windowlight.
Their affection eternal has been plighted
By such ephemeral emblems -
Braided birds nests, stained-glass Monarchs wings,
Forsaken locusts husks, resplendent cardinal feathers -
And, this, a clutch of heat-drooped sunflowers
Bestowed on a barren day that has furnished
No other flowering.