Fall Writing Frenzy, 2020 (Image 14, courtesy of Susan Kaye Leopold)

Nausea rises in me every time. This isn’t even a real sunflower! It doesn’t matter. My body reacts instantly, as if I’m allergic. Then my mind joins in, going places I wish it wouldn’t. It’s been two years for goodness sake.

I’m supposed to put another image in my head. Or practice mindfulness–knit, meditate, cook. Today I let the memories percolate in.

The aluminum watering cans bursting with weighty discs of sunshine. One on each round, linen‑covered table, three on the head table, one beside the guest book. I gifted matching mirrors to my bridesmaids. Jigsaw cut by my dad, toll painted by me. The beholder looked as if they wore a loin’s mane of golden petals. Our wedding photos were even taken at a nearby field–the two of us, dwarfed in a sea of gold and green.

No more us. Just me. Me, who’s still figuring out how to fill a Saturday once the apartment is clean and I’ve made enough soup for a month. Me, who’s still reading about the five stages of grief. Me, who still reels at the sight of sunflowers–sunflowers! Stinking sunflowers.


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