Dandelions by Melissa Lam

Poem title: Dandelions

Poet name: Melissa Lam

Poem: we come empty-handed to Poh Poh’s grave

but the fields are not, yellow heads


dotting green, not yet plucked

by mowers, by children’s fingers


save the ones my son picks - ten, fifteen

bunches them together, places them in the cup


here, to her stone, for you. my husband

gently guides our son away. give Umma a moment.


i fidget. play with my ring. this is how you’ll meet:

my son running around a graveyard. your name


transcribed boldly on a stone. that we will not feel

your thin skin, hold your gentle hands. i stand


wordless, hoping you can somehow hear

what I cannot say aloud to the vast expanse of dandelions.


when we leave my son is disappointed. but i wanted

to see her. i pick him up, feel his head rest


on the nook of my neck. me too

End of poem.

Credits and bio: Copyright © Melissa Lam


Previously published in Emerge 23: The Writer’s Studio Anthology, 2023.


Melissa Lam is a second-generation Canadian. Born in Toronto, she now lives on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, also known as Vancouver, where she writes, teaches, and gardens with her husband and son.