A Weed

by Jonathan Shipley

There is probably a poem in that sunflower
that has bloomed alone in my backyard.
I am filled with such despair and I
know that it’s unfounded, to a point.
At least I have a job.
At least no loved ones (yet)
have died. No one has
ever died of despair.
Some would argue that countless have.
It’s okay to have debates such as these.
There are questions about what defines
a weed. The sunflower will be in
full bloom in a day or two, I
imagine. We have failed – our
leadership, our neighbors, ourselves.
A year of our lives will be taken
away from us. We have all suffered
deaths these months. A metaphor is
different than a ventilator, different
than a window, and a grave.
I am not worthy of that yellowing bloom
and yet here I am
trying to define what weeds are.

Jonathan Shipley is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, National Parks Magazine, and Meatpaper. Illustration by VR Ragesh, who is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.

One thought on “A Weed

  1. I’m sure this echoes what many feel. Even the fortunate ones feel heavy, weary, and sad, unworthy of the sunflower that turns toward the light no matter what.


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