16 February 2009 | Vol. 8, No. 4
Growing wild and rank, out in the grass. They asked me to bend down on my knees and rip the dandelions out with my teeth. Not just me. The group of us. Bend down, they said. Your teeth, they said. I snarled but bent down anyway. And when I tasted the bitterness of the stem, I looked up. I thought, stare them straight in the eyes. Thought, do not wipe the dirt from your lips. But I looked up and saw only pasture, a few milk cows in the distance. There was no one else. The others beside me: gone. Those above me: vanished. How long had I been alone. I felt the tip of a stone entering my knee. To bleed is to know loneliness. To look up is to know defeat. This is what the stone told me. The dandelion, wilted at my feet. There is such a thing as dignity. It spoke to me. It told me, bend down. It told me, rip out the dandelions with your teeth.
Notes on this piece:
"Growing wild and rank" is from the OED's definition of weed, noun, 1.
About the author:
Emma Ramey lives in Michigan, teaches at Grand Valley State University, and is on the staff of DIAGRAM. Her poems have appeared in Octopus, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, the Mississippi Review, and other publications. She also has a chapbook, A Numerical Devotional, from New Michigan Press. Most importantly, she likes you.