smashing a crowd of them

in the dream the girl is five years old, and it is clear that i had abandoned her. she looks up at me with her blue green eyes as if she’s asking the hardest question in the world, and i feel the pressure of whatever it was i had done weighing down on my chest.

kneeling in the wet ground i plant the
sunflowers
with c,
the ones i had started on my windowsill in june, the ones now with root bound bottoms all interlaced and overgrown, craning their still strong stems upward to see the sun and i say
sorry
that it took me this long to find bare earth to plant them. and the drizzling rain christens their new home.

but they’re not from around here, m, who is 6, says
about the gypsy moths, when i stop him from smashing a crowd of them that we find on the giant oak tree. well, are you from around here? i ask him, to which he nods emphatically, not understanding a connection. but why don’t they just go back to where they came from?! he says angrily. it’s just a little more complicated than that,  i say, and we walk to catch up with the rest of the group entering into the woods.