Erica Plouffe Lazure

I read somewhere, in one of those Oz or Oprah magazines Junie brought home from the store, that dandelions are good for you, and that's all the confirmation in the world I need to convince myself that we, as a race, are going crazy. For one, dandelions are weeds. About as weedy as a weed could get, with that mop of yellow spikes masquerading flower petals. And damned if they aren't at the very core of my allergy cycle—for them alone I buy hundreds of dollars worth of Claritin each year and I'll be double-damned if I'll keep these in the house, like my sister insists, just to have me wheeze and sneeze all day. She's on her knees, jackknife in hand, cutting down each one, as though they were Mrs. Crespin's prize roses. If she thinks she's bringing those things home from the park, hay fever or not, she'll be looking at a dandelion heap full of you-know-what in her you-know-where.

Junie says when we get home she'll make me a tea from the dandelions, with honey to keep away the bitter taste, just like the magazine shows. She said it's the new natural catch-all, cure-all for everything that ails you. She held up a magazine as though in evidence. But what she can't see is how my lungs close up on me right now to think of it: dandelions in the house! The last time that happened, we were just girls, picking flowers for our mother. And we gave them to her in bunches and she put them in the ashtray, as a stand-in for a vase, but forgot to put in the water. And three days later both she and the dandelions were gone. Well, our mother was gone, but the dandelions shrunk in the pit of the ashtray. We didn't notice them until Grandma lit her cigarette, and the ash caught fire to the dried up weeds, stinking up the whole house something awful. And I've been allergic to them ever since. So Junie better not bring those back in here. I don't care what Oz or Oprah or Dr. Phil or anyone else has to say about it. Because even though dandelions may be good for you, I know what's good for me.

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