Jessica K. Hylton

Sidewalk Dandelion

I stepped on you today
You crumpled under my
Weight while all I felt was a
Slight discomfort from
A disrupted step

But there you still stood
When you should have
Laid down like
A river rock bending to
The quick moving tide

But you?  You
Your fragile tendrils
Bust through concrete
Better than sweat powered steel

How we have tried to eliminate you
We assailed you with sheer man power
Ripping, tearing—anything to
Force you from your fortified cement
Trench line

We bombarded you with
Chemicals and gases rarely seen outside of
Concentration camps
Your gold petals denoting your
Non-Aryan vegetation status

And still you hang on
Ignoring the disemboweled remnants
Of a companion’s scattered scraps
A leafy corpse that covers
Your own body

I watch you
Straighten your bruised and flattened limbs
Twisting your face
Your yellow features
Insistent on survival

Jessica K. Hylton is an assistant professor of English and the MFA director at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her chapbook, The Great Scissor Hunt, was published by Headmistress Press in 2017.