Sunflower Meditations I want to be like a sunflower: to be young and to follow the sun’s glow, to be old and continue growing tall even as death knocks on its door, to keep its head up even as it witnesses the loss of the other life, keep climbing high as if attempting to reach the sun’s sacred salvation. Birthright My father is the fly that circles around dead and already digested things, drinking his diet of decay, dreaming of nothing grander than this fly-by dive, thriving on destruction. Eventually, he developed into what he consumes: a diminished fraction of what he once was, a dim decaying shell of a bug buzzing circles around his deformed body’s demolition. I am a product of reproduction. I am a fly because my father was but I have a fondness for the sweeter things. I find fulfillment on ripened fruit. The pulpy pit of a peach pulls me away from the puzzling predicament of my fly-status birthright. I may be from the Diptera order but I will paint these wings – hope for a butterfly’s beauty or a dragonfly’s grace. Bio: Charles K. Carter is a queer poet and educator from Iowa. He shares his home with his artist husband and his spoiled pets. He enjoys film, yoga, and live music. Melissa Etheridge is his ultimate obsession. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. His poems have appeared in several literary journals. He is the author of Chasing Sunshine (Lazy Adventurer Publishing), Splinters (Kelsay Books), and Safety-Pinned Hearts (Alien Buddha Press).