“Dandelion” by Julie Lechevsky
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
My science teacher said there are no monographs on the dandelion. Unlike the Venus fly-trap or Calopogon pulchellus, it is not a plant worthy of scrutiny. It goes on television between the poison squirt bottles, during commercial breakaways from Ricki Lake. But that's how life parachutes to my home. Home, where they make you do what you don't want to do. Moms with Uzis of reproach, dads with their silencers. (My parents watch me closely because I am their jewel.) So no one knows how strong a dandelion is inside, how its parts stick together, bract, involucre, pappus, how it clings to its fragile self. There are 188 florets in a bloom, which might seem a peculiar number, but there are 188,000 square feet in the perfectly proportioned Wal-Mart, which allows for circulation without getting lost. I wish I could grow like a dandelion, from gold to thin white hair, and be carried on a breeze to the next yard.
from Poems & Plays, Number 8, Spring/Summer 2001
Middle Tennessee State University
Copyright 2001 by Julie Lechevsky.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Oberlin College Press from Poems & Plays. Copyright 2001 by Julie Lechevsky. For further permissions information, contact Julie Lechevsky, 905 Preston Avenue, Blacksburg, VA 24060.