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