Editor’s Note: Kierstin Bridger is the 2011 winner of Telluride Arts’ Mark Fischer Poetry Prize and a regular contributor to Telluride Inside… and Out. Possibly the edgiest member of our family of writers/poets, including Word Woman Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and “Feelosophy” major David Feela, Kierstin surprised us this time with a genuinely sweet tribute to her husband and father of their little girl, in which her characteristic sharp edges round and soften into toes, strawberries, wine, and dandelions.

An Artisanal Fathers Day

Before it was trending hard,
over scale wall graphics; weed
silhouettes on the cover of Dwell
we made dandelion fritters
humble wild mountain fare
You said you wanted to devour
our child’s small sun bouquet
She had proclaimed you daddy lion
You and your silent roar

A friend told me once how the time of dandelions were cherished in the Alps,
families harvesting the greens for salads, crafting tonics and wine
here they are bane of the American lawn, the forgotten medicinal, the overlooked, stubbornly present, the hearty and fond refrain of a ceaseless task.

It aches a little knowing this abundance
will soon be picnic packed
heady strawberry scent fading
sticky forks rolled in cloth napkins
clotted brie still clinging to the knife
our little girl grubby toed, fingers yellowed from the plucking
her summer hair tumbling into our arms
waiting like a baby bird for us to place seasoned morsels
practically chirping

You know you’ll stick in the cracks of her childhood
An undaunted taproot of good and solid fathering
when she’s carrying a portfolio to an audience who may
not picture her twirling by the lake, blowing cotton candy seeds of sun
making wishes she’d stay a daddy’s girl forever, wishing she could fly.

Before she opens the door
the sidewalk will wink and you’ll be there.
a little grungy, a little trodden but
reminding her of her wings.


1 Comment
  • RWD
    Posted at 16:30h, 23 June

    I’ve read and even enjoyed many fathers day poems through the years. None has made me tear-up, none has made me want to reread several times and none has given me such an uplifting heart warming message until now. Knowing Kierstin’s husband and her daughter is of little consequence attributing lofty praise to this poet. I would have relished this poem were it written by anyone and still would have had Kierstin’s hubby as the daddy lion.