Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Dandelions in Autumn

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Yellow petals, pollen-soft
like monarchs' wings.

Little lions' manes
like illustrations in childrens'

books, not like roaring
Serengeti cats

or the MGM logo lion, harmless
these. I pick them, bunch them,

hold them under Mama's chin
to see if they light her throat

yellow, and if they do, delight!
Mother, You like butter! My squeal

bright in mountain sun. When small
I saw a dark mother, wondered

would my flowers of fortune
show yellow on her throat

and if not, wouldn't that be sad
for her child, there in her arms

fat fingers caressing
her soft earlobe. Today

the golden flowers sprouted
into silver balloons, turned

to seed, hoary. I haven't spread
seeds in years but I pick one.

It tears milk where I tear its stem
as if it knows it's late.

I blow, gently, vaguely
satisfied that, weeds

or not, their seeds fly on my breeze,
will plant wonder on other hills

and that it is my breath
that powers them there.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for authors.

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Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012