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Dandelions

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After the cling of roots and then the “pock”
when they gave way
                                     the recoil up the hand
               was a small shock
of emptiness beginning to expand.

Milk frothing from the stems. Leaves inky green
and spiked.
                      Like blissed-out childhood play
              turned mean
they snarled in tangled curls on our driveway.

It happens still. That desolating falling
shudder inside
                            and then our neighborhood
                seems only sprawling
loops...like the patterns eaten on driftwood:

even the home where I grew up (its smell
of lingering
                      wood-smoke and bacon grease)
             seems just a shell
of lathe and paper. But this strange release

follows: this tinge like silver and I feel
the pull of dirt
                            again, sense mist uncurling
               to reveal
no architecture hidden behind the world

except the stories that we make unfolding:
as if our sole real power
                                                    were the power
             of children holding
this flower that is a weed that is a flower.
Source: Poetry (July/August 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Dandelions

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  • Peter Campion received his BA from Dartmouth College and his MA from Boston University. His collections of poetry include Other People (2005) and The Lions: Poems (2009). He has also written monographs and catalog essays for the painters Joseph McNamara, Terry St. John, Mitchell Johnson, and Eric Aho. He regularly publishes literary and art criticism in numerous journals and has won a Pushcart Prize.

    Equally comfortable in formal and free verse, Campion writes poems that deftly bridge intimate and social concerns. Campion’s former professor, the poet Robert Pinsky, notes in an AGNI review of Other People that the “closeness of the uncanny to the quotidian is Peter Campion’s kind of material.” David Biespiel, reviewing The Lions in the Oregonian, observes, “Campion is a poet who knows that what a poet sees is nothing without a mixture of formal prowess and emotional insight.”

    Campion has held a George Starbuck Lectureship at Boston...

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