The seeds came from a kid's birthday party, nestled in the bag along with some toys and slightly-compressed chocolate cake.
We planted them in the garden, determined to make something grow, freshly weeded soil home to star-crossed broccoli seedlings and determined cinque foil. A dirty patch of resistance against the lawn. Compost from last year's vegetables.
They grew, the 10 seeds. Not all of them, not consistently. They formed leaves and stalks and bits of their own lives. They chased the sun, not knowing or caring what they were, or were to be.
Eventually they were taller than my sons. I propped them up with sticks, have them strength against the winds of the world. Then they were taller than me. Their cropped hair leaked potential, leaves curled inwards like fearful hugs. Waiting for the right time.
The yellow heads burst out in the mid-Summer, somewhere in between a sea mist and family holiday. The heads tracked the sunshine, distracted everyone and everything from the majestic leaves below, nibbled on by snails. We could see them from all over the house.
Eventually. The tails of hurricanes swept through like ghosts. The leaves became skeletons. Everything yellowed, and the seeds, cooped up in their masses, pointing to the sun, became degraded and pecked at.
I lifted the strong, yellow stalks out from the earth with the help of a small gardening fork, shook the soil free to be used again. Proud staffs, their time at an end. I clipped the heads and left them for the birds, for the autumn to reclaim. The stalks I burnt.
It was their time.