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SUNFLOWERS IN THE FALL

Sunflowers like to grow inside the body. A seedling or two sprout year round, but the most

beautiful specimens grow in the fall. I’ve seen all sorts of sunflowers throughout my career (big, small, slumber, fuzzy, scented, and even orange), and those I haven’t seen, I’ve read about; like the rare specimen Professor Medgeldof treated back in the 70s, a unique flower with poisonous thorns, or the shortest sunflower to ever exist, which occasioned symptoms for a short-lived 3 seconds.


But most sunflowers grow just the same as the sum of its parts: seeds, stem, leaves, petals. I

know the process just like the rest, as I too, have been a chosen one.

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Sunflower harvest begins like you’d expect, with seed collection. Seeds can be implanted in the body through many different ways, including contact with other harvesters, flying seed remains, or the winds of late November, which are the perfect flourishing conditions. But the body only needs one seed to grow a sunflower, which is why after it picks it’s seed, the one it wants to flourish, the rest of the seeds strive to make their way out.


I know the process has started when one or two seedlings dance out from my left nostril, leaving a trail of growing goo behind. Subtly at first, and then abruptly, the others follow, as they begin their search for new harvesters, with no particular choice of nostril. They fly off into the air at times, but mostly land on my clothes, providing a temporary clogness relief inside my nose. But, growing goo is fast to grow back into my nostrils as more seeds prepare to come out. When sunflowers grow in the fall, it’s hard for me to breathe.


Once a seed has sprouted in my body, it crackles open to allow the stem to grow. A sunflower stem is loopy and long, ever growing with time; from the top of my nose, around my eyeballs, to the surroundings of my brain. It sprouts and grows, squishing on different nerves and cells, finding comfort in the warmth of my head, which heats up to provide perfect growing conditions for the growing sunflower. The stem, as it twists and turns, pressures the forehead skin, seeking extra space until it relinquishes in the fact that it has sufficiently grown to its largest capacity. When sunflowers grow in the fall, my head burns as per nature’s request.


Then come the leaves, which are carefully crafted into their heart-like shape in the bottom of my throat. Their edges press softly against my inner neck, causing a soft, uncomfortable tickle, which lead to a soft, uncomfortable cough. When sunflowers grow in the fall, their leaves form a nest in my throat.


Last to flourish are the petals, the trademark of my growing sunflower. Beautiful, and delicate

wings that grow above the stem, the stem that twists and turns around my brain, and flourishes from the seedlings in my nose that mightily fall off my nostrils in the search for new conquests. Petals require plenty of oxygen and sunlight to grow, which they seek from the holes in my eardrums, the small small holes in my eardrums.


They reach for the air and the light at the end of the tunnel, seek their liquid gold, their sacred growth serum that comes in the shape of light and air. When sunflowers grow in the fall, they expand into my eardrums, causing an impending pression that fuels my body’s weakness.


Nature is quite the unpredictable mother, making the sunflower growing process hard to measure precisely. I often dare to announce the end of the harvest after 4 or 5 days, but am then surprised by some spontaneous seeds in my nose. Other times, they grow and die in the course of a couple of days, these sunflowers aren’t as scented, beautiful, or tall.

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A long time ago, one of the white collared men discovered sunflower killers; Sunflex, they call them. What started as a small experiment conducted carefully with a couple of seeds in the lab, resulted in a mass capitalist production of the cure.


The weak, they take the killers. They can’t stand the beautiful burden of sunflower harvest; the burning sensation of growing petals; the beautiful doodles of the stem, which twists and turns around the brain.


I can, and do. Always have. The simple thought of disrupting nature’s course inside my body

feels unnatural in and of itself, which is why I’ve dedicated my life to botany, studying them: the yellow giants.

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Maybe that’s why Maria Ramos came to my studio that day. The white collared men, they ran

from her case, fearing they too would grow a sunflower like hers. She found me in page three of a google search, the poor girl.


It was Maria’s 50th fall, which meant she’d seen the growth and death of many sunflowers

before, but this one was different. Not even two Sunflex, 4 times a day, for 7 days, as the white collared men prescribed, were enough to kill it.


We never knew how or where she collected these seeds. We only knew her body had picked a big, prickly seed, which caused a big prickly cough, a big prickly headache, and a big prickly amount of eardrum pressure. This big, prickly seed, was also responsible for the most beautiful petals, like I had never seen before.


The symptoms came all at once with the harvest of the seeds, which let us know this sunflower was not like the rest; the sunflowers that delicately grow out of a stem, triggering the body systems one by one. This sunflower triggered all systems at once, and carried a unique anatomical feature: thorns. Rare today as they were in the 70s. Thorns that brewed up in the bottom of her lungs, crafted to protect the beautiful, golden petals from the killers. They succeeded, and I was fascinated by their glory.


Over the course of the weeks, Maria’s sunflower grew. With a stem so tall it extended down her throat and danced in circles around her heart, and petals so large they nearly jumped out of her ears. On certain afternoons, when she came into the studio for her weekly treatment, we’d have a talk. She told me about her growing sunflower, and I’d listen with open ears, as she drank her remedy from my handcrafted, glass bottle. Other days, she’d come in and scream, always complaining about her lounges. The poor girl.


Until one day, her sunflower utterly and completely consumed her, bringing gleams of beautiful light into each of her systems. Her heart. Her brain. Her eardrums. Her chest. Her mind. And her soul. She lay on the studio bed that day, the day her sunflower took over her body. I stood beside her, like I had for the past month, handcrafted glass bottle in hand. Observing how her body lay still, motionless, life-less.


Just like the mother of nature herself tells, every beautiful life is eventually caught up by death. But, how I had enjoyed seeing this precious sunflower grow. Every good botanist has a perfected fertilizer recipe. The poor girl.

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