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cactus Years

Thirteen years later, nobody knows
why she fell from the window
of her top floor apartment to
her death, between the oleanders and
the rose bushes. We were sitting on
opposite sides and I was picking a
crumb off the tablecloth to whiten
the pain.  Her eyes clouded into
blue-gray mist. ‘You hold my bird in your
hands’, she said.  ‘It is wounded and
can fly no more.  Look’ —and darkness
came across her face, falling like rain,
like pain, into me.


It’s like a hot coal, I thought, passing
it back and forth, glowing and malignant.
It was a difficult place, somewhere before
and the coal was her invention, but I fanned
it into life.  The bed hard, the soft
mattress turned into thorns like a yellow
flowered cactus, as I dodged her barbs while
between the growing buds the fruit split open
with the knives of our accusations.  She sliced
too deep, exposing the seeds, the glistening
orange interior and I fell from the window again
and again, the roses coming closer and closer,
like a photograph of a dead planet taken from
space.  Thirteen years later, I fell into her
and she was gone.


A cactus dream surrounds her grave.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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