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Introduced Exotics

Elizabeth Bradfield

September. Alaska. Birch
are dropping leaves, but in my
back yard, six sunflowers have bloomed

at last from feeder-dropped seed
—lazy chickadees and juncos—
six sunflowers. For the last two days

rain: bogs thick again after
a puckering summer, but now
sun. Sunflowers. So I'm in the yard

and bees are going crazy. Each nub
of pollen on the broad yellow discs tickles
a bee. They're ga-ga for this dish

of yellow, boomvy as a D-cup
in angora, these blowsy vamps
in a small-bud climate

where natives crouch
into unscented blooms, hunker
against cold and wind,

pollinated in their alpine meadows
not, after all, by bees. These
sunflowers my slack care has made.

These bees taking advantage. Drunk
on the excess. How they remind me
of a life I once lived.

Elizabeth Bradfield

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