Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Echinopsis pachanoi
“This thing called love, like the ache of a wound
In beauty’s side, . . .”

Tell me from your mouth what can be saved.
We cut apart the cactus with a sharp knife,
alcohol, mid-drift of thorn. The weather’s turned
to a mist of heat. Awake, asleep.
The stems want only a bite of water
or rain aslant. Today’s work
is dry weeds, a roadrunner slicking past yucca.
Sometimes when I feel betrayed, I need to lean
against the desert, to remember desire
isn’t the end. Three-awn, kinnickinnik,
pine-drop seed stalks, the metronome
of sky, steady along.
Am I missing the answer: light
through its rotations?
Before I get old, I’ll learn how it sings
nettle, scale, the spoon-breath
of dust-eddy, sip and remnant.
I will have seen a whole translucence.
The cactus insists on blooming. From joints,
eyeholes. Meaning, what splits from this
gives me the fortune to open
in welcome. I must want
what is empty. Map it, mention it, talk
all day. The month folds its tired self over me, clasps
without moving. I kneel
on the ground which keeps on
surviving. Above me wings with their rituals,
a sequence of hours, chance. All it takes
is summer again. Another morning.
What it hasn’t been.  

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