ZYZYXIA / six sunflowers

I left the pharmacy with six sunflowers instead of Stattera

I place three in a vase next to the couch where you sit

only the flower that faces you still lives

it must have selfishly drank up all the water

leaving the two to wither

and hang their petaled heads


the bedroom gets clean and

you mention that it’s much easier to wake up in the morning now

I wish I could say the same

I still choose to stay in bed these days

ah, but the sunflowers —

the other three live in the windowsill next where I lay

they must be sharing the water

not one more wilted than the others

still tall and open

I stare at them

day and night

rain falls

time passes 

the days slip away from me

my insides hollow out 

how do I find fullness again?

stand tall and open?

only the flower that faces you still lives

The prompt for day two of Na/GloPoWriMo reads: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words. I chose “zyzyxia,” which apparently, has the following backstory:

“In 1991, Berkeley University botanist John L Strother was completing work on a vast analysis of North American sunflowers when he discovered a new genus. Rather than disrupt the layout of his 100-page writeup, he named the new genus ZYZYXIA so he could just add it onto the end.”

I found this word fitting to this piece, as I had already begun writing it before I read the prompt. So, like Strother, I chose not to disrupt my work and have to start again or heavily edit a nearly complete piece.

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