A symbol of pastoral freedom,
their shape shows up on nursery wall decals
and whimsical business cards.
We hold some fascination for these sky sailors
the way they drift and coast,
suspended by their milky parachute ships,
entrusting fragrant breezes
to take their precious cargo,
a single darling seed
to some loamy port.
It starts with just one pluck
and as I blow I have to fight
the inner urge to stop “spreading weeds.”
I watch the downy white feathers
separate from the bare and speckled middle
of their mother,
and I feel the tender heart of separation…
embracing the wide smiled joy of individuation.
Take flight, my little dandelion hatchlings!
My son has been watching all the while
and he rejoices in this unspoken permission to blow
not one but bunches and bunches of seed fluff into the air.
Oh there are so many paths we can take in this life!
Some come to rest on blades of grass,
Others drift to the sidewalk in concrete inertia.
One catches some daring and exalted current
quickly disappearing beyond view,
its treasure of a wish
riding a long exhale into the unknown.
All this youth and beauty released,
I return to what is left
and feel sorry for this pile of stems,
bent elbows, broken legs, pokey knees
a mess of thoughtless carnage.
Oh forsaken mothers,
their biological job thanklessly complete,
their nest suddenly vacated,
their bodies, lives permanently altered.
Are you hollow?
Are you free?
Having experienced your greatest joy, your greatest loss,
now to be grabbed back by the earth,
the buttery rot of annihilation.
In your rebirth, how will you choose?
Flamboyant poppy or common purslane
or maybe yet another
spreader of wishes,
royal empress of the spring fields.