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Bobby Jester's Dandelion Blues


When I walked by the quad this morning, I saw

a flock of robins had taken over,

each bird about twenty feet from his buddy,

each running little sprints as they policed

the yard. They were gone when I came back

on the lawn mower, and pushing through the grass

the dandelions were like yellow mice, peeping 

from their holes—I lowered the blades and sang

"Born to be Wild" as I cut off their sassy heads.


When I cruised back after lunch, hauling

fuel cans, a push mower, a weed eater,

I found thirty shiny brown hussies

sunbathing behind the girls' dorm—so much

alike, I couldn't find my sweetie at first,

but then I saw her, on her hands and knees,

where she was blowing seeds off a tall 

dandelion. I drifted over, my blond hair

feeling like it might scatter in the breeze,

just as an ugly, hairy-faced boy leaned

from her window, yelled that the car was packed.


It's funny how you can hardly see the line

on a weed eater when you rev the motor,

but that flimsy thing can chew away

dandelions right down to the ground.

Now that I know what it's like to be mowed, blowed,

bagged and dumped, music that buzzes and growls

gives me no satisfaction. I turn off

the Fuzz Face, the Fender amp, put away

the Stratocaster, lock it in its case.


I pick up Daddy's old Martin, pick out 

a song about sleepless nights, I listen

to the crickets, to Grandma's rocker creaking

beside me on the porch. In her wobbly voice

Grandma says, "Remember your roots, boy," 

and I nod and sigh, as if I could forget, as taproots 

work into the dirt, as the full moon rises.



--John Thomas York

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