Excerpt

Jeff Latosik's "Cactus Love"

The cactus keeping its cool water secret
is simple to love: as if all that is hard in us,
closed up tight as a fist in a pocket
can still be loved, need not be relieved.

To prick your thumb, to call that conversation,
in a quiet room when you’re tired of speaking
and the lover you’ve kissed all the light from
is curled under a blanket in her own wrinkled mood.

The cactus which thrives in irascible sunlight,
cracked earth and stone. Calm as a soldier’s
silent sleeves. The cactus knows there is
even a war in the cracks between stones.

The cactus leaning into February sun:
a long green tongue that never tells us
yes or no. To have brushed the webs from
its tiny perfect spikes and considered forgiveness.

One blue flower that closes like a door
when Spring curves to Summer. To smell it and find
your way back to the morning. To find your way
back to the light on the bed.

The cactus keeping its cool water secret
with a stillness you had once, long ago,
in a place where you lay down, but had to get up from,
and go on into your small armourless life.

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