July 24, 2008

Cactus Song

I'll never be one of those girls,
lacelike and sunny at the edges,
with yards of skin like farm-fresh cream
and guileless, wide, light-streaming eyes.

My thorns were sharp
long before
the bud had ever blossomed.

I've never been one of those girls,
who makes men feel
as though they've found redemption
in the crook of their elbow,
who makes men want
to cherish and protect,
as one protects a hothouse lily
from the elements
that may besmirch its petals
with the dust and dross of life.

I am a spiky, spiny plant
that flowers, on occasion,
to vivid, scorching color,

a flowering cactus,
always overly enthusiastic
to find a drop of moisture
in its familiar desert.
And my thick, bright petals wilt
as quickly and completely

as the shivering red bloom on the tip
of a cigarette,
pleasing for a while, then
sucked up,
used up,
discarded carelessly
and guiltlessly,
left in the dark to rot
or regenerate.

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