On the grasses of Washington Square my daughter waddles
free in her hickory stripe dungarees—I mean overalls—
to pluck a dandelion clock and veers left to present it to us,
almost abashed, her fair head to one side to ask What is this?
A thread of milky sap hangs like Copydex, elongates, then snaps.
The trailing of the lion’s tooth leads here and here we find our
next non-native streeling species, introduced by the Mayflower
or anyway around then since History is fun! But never specifies.
I exhale against the clock and the seeds begin to flee, riding out
to spread the world as the raw nub balds. One sprung floret spins
its spindled thread of seed, dangling from the hair-straps
of the pappus-parachute and gets air-cuffed across the kerb,
past the blue postbox, over a fast reversing Fed-Ex van
and is buffeted higher and higher until a cross-current takes it
and it disappears round the corner of Bleeker and Mercer.