Tooth of the Lion

Butter flower,
Priest’s crown,
Irish daisy —
names evolved over millennia, until
one day, long ago by now,
an old woman chops and boils the root
for herbal tea, lays aside
yellow flowers for infusion with fruit
to make wine, and from a rosette
around the slender stem she tears
coarse jagged-edged leaves:
dent de lion, she says, and she laughs
to have thought of it, dent de lion. . .

My toddler picks flowers –-
little yellow pillow tufts
around her bare feet, innocent
flat heads she decapitates
and stuffs into the fists of both hands;
a thousand sharp-pointed petals —
blossoms soft as bee beds.
They fall in a torrent across my table
and she trembles with the pleasure
of the gift.

Noxious, extraneous Terataxicum:
at the whim of a summer breath
parachute your tiny seed-speck down.
Plant yourself. Bore your white root
through tangled grass, through
hard gray soil – be squatter
on my turf. Sew sun-yellow buttons
over my silk shirt of emerald lawn.
Grow wild and wanton — delight
all young harvesters.

How often I have wanted to poison you,
Tooth of the Lion. What was I thinking?