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Dent-de-Leon: two poems by Kim Welliver

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

dandelion, image by Stefan Schweihofer, on Pixabay



the dandelion


 from blight-knotted ground

  a  blazes in unclocked glory,

             from parched waste-lots, concrete


      litter scuttered parkway;

           all luminous tenacity, 

        mute cells replicating

           phyllaries, ligules, anthers, taproot. 

Little lion-tooth. Invasive aster, 

flares redemptive

  as church candles from fallow gardens

      flitched in thistle,

           urban ditch [shattered glass shine]

and glutted gutter

   pushes green stem, [milk-sap-stain] 

  & brute-toothed leaf

through asphalt's rough crumb, terminates

        in silk-glow, bee-bright.


 Leaf and bloom, it offers up

its ragged self, becomes;


      mason-jarred wine, unbittered 


 bowl of bacon-fatted greens,

     childhood's braided chains 

                          split stems, saffron coronas 

garnishing throats and heads.


O would that I also 

bloom such brilliance 

in poverty,

in hardship,

                   proffering, from gravelled hands, 

 this bowl of light.



The last time I gave birth

I let my garden die.

While I learned to thread a tube

into my tiny daughter's nose

listening through a stethoscope

as it entered her belly

to nourish frail failing flesh, 

bindweed advanced.

Crabgrass thrust toes

through the vegetable patch.

Pigweed and briars

took hold among lilies and liatris.

I let the spade and secateurs lie

taking up instead

syringes, gavage, heart monitor

and anti-seizure meds

as my new tools against invasion.

The roses choked in ivy,

stone-fruits dropped

to rot among dandelions.

I embraced this peculiar darkness

that could welcome any living thing,

setting my seasons of growth

to midnight feedings

infant massage, my callused hands, slick with grapeseed oil,

to the rigid constraints of physical therapy. It wasn't that I had no time

to prune and stake, 

spading compost 

into fertility—

that she-beast who turns

without warning, it was simply that,

watching spurge lace my garden path green

I found I had no heart

to tear away

the imperfections,

to kill what sprang

wholly formed and uninvited 

from fertile soil




Kim Welliver is an autodidact who has been passionate about the written word,

in all its iterations, since early childhood. When she isn't writing, she is caring

for her profoundly disabled child or working as a Special Ed/mobility aide for

children in elementary school. Both a 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net

nominee, her work can be found in print and online publications, including

Rock & Sling, Mid-American Review, Night Picnic, Healing Muse, The Dead Mule

School of Southern Literature, Fairy Tale Review Anthologies, and many others.

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