One afternoon, I came across a field of dandelions waiting to be wished on, and found that I could only think of others.
I could only think of the world and how much she is aching. I could only think of everything and everyone who is hurting.
This empathy left me motionless, just staring at the dandelions, until my imagination turned my thoughts into a meditation of hope.
This is the precipice from which I jumped into this poem; all of that self-importance and self-advancement shifting to what really matters—all of us.
When we make a wish, what are we wishing for? Are our intentions aligned with the good of all? Are we here to help humanity? Are we trying to manifest a planet in which we can all live peacefully, and love and create and grow and simply be?
When you make a wish, I’ll make that wish for you and you make that wish for me.
Ten Thousand Wishes
have poked back up
through the earth;
waiting to be scattered into the wind,
fragile white globes against
spring green grass
picked by the fingers of a stranger
and given a name,
a direction in which to blow.
Once such a carefree thing,
I would pick one
and immediately smile as a wish
formed in my mouth that I could blow
through the sphere of tight florets
loosening them into flight;
my wishes from youth
to not feel alone,
that she would notice me,
that I would be happy,
that someday there would be someone to love,
someone to love,
someone to love.
the small miracles shine
in the late afternoon’s golden light.
I hesitate to pick one,
knowing the weight of the world more than before,
how selfish a wish can be…
I pluck one from the earth,
rotate the waxy green stem between my fingers,
observe the microcosm of hundreds of
tightly woven white florets,
eager parachutes for dreams.
This one is different I say—
this one holds the waiting of the world,
this one is an explosion of good destined to penetrate,
and this tiny planet of hope waits for my wind.
I close my eyes
and think of 10,000 things,
the list that constantly plays
in my mind;
the echoes of agony that sing in my heart,
that is no longer covered
with my own name,
that bears the names
of so many innocent children,
polluted rivers and streams,
refugees fleeing terror,
every species of wild thing needing a shield,
in all of their alphabetical misery down to Z:
America (so called “land of the free”).
Down the list,
letters of places shaped to name emptiness;
a dozen times,
the dandelion quadruples in size
with each vision of life needing help.
I can no longer hold it between my fingers
or my arms;
it becomes the tallest tree,
sky scraping suddenly,
florets still held together in the clouds,
10,000 things keep revolving,
a battleship launches 59 Tomahawk missiles,
another black boy is killed by police,
a bomb is called mother.
I begin to cry;
I crouch down against the giant green stem
standing straight up to the sky,
and I no longer see the top,
the sphere, I fear, is gone.
I waited too long
making 10,000 wishes for the world,
thinking of every broken thing
that keeps walking past my mind’s eye,
the regrettable song every world server sings
that only holds the words:
How could I have done more to help?
I think of the waiting florets,
each one that must be the width of a condor’s wings by now,
or so much bigger,
waiting up there out of reach,
wasted dreams blowing gently up too high in the atmosphere,
still connected to this dandelion stem
that grew out of my little hand,
now wide as a city.
the base of the gigantic dandelion begins to shake,
all the Gods
that we have created
in our search for salvation
inhale amidst the stars,
the dandelion head now a Great Lion in the cosmos
asking for help to save our planet.
With the winds of 10,000 hurricanes,
all the Gods
Ten thousand wishes…
the colossal dandelion florets
from the stalk
and dance with spirals of gravity
back down to earth,
each one a parachute of hope,
each one an umbrella of resilient love,
each one a promise that we will survive,
each one a shield of divine light that reminds us we are never alone.
I open my eyes
and look down at the empty green stem;
the setting sun makes my tears golden,
their rivers bend across my cheeks
as I smile.
Author: Kai Coggin
Image: Author’s Own; Alice Donovan Rouse/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Callie Rushton