May/June 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 3 Poetry |

One Cactus

After Miyoshi Tatsuji The xeriscape garden, we walked through. Under the trees, the world, ten degrees cooler. C. would identify the plants by their names: agave, green palo verde, baja fairy dusters. Our own garden, however, was one cactus too big for its pot. It leaned toward the sun and often fell over, shedding its thorns on our carpet. That afternoon I picked up the corpse of the prickly pear and set it upright, returned its soil to its pot. It rose from the dead, began its slow work of reaching. You are too small to desire so much, we said to it. In the evenings, we spoke to the cactus about the future. What else but you could grow here in our Mojave. We gifted our garden—the prickly pear—to a friend’s friend in Santa Monica. We drove east with a U-Haul trailer, passing the teddy bear cholla, the cottontops, Joshua trees, their arms raised in exultation.

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Marianne Chan is the author of All Heathens from Sarabande Books, which was the winner of the 2021 GLCA New Writers Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Rumpus, West Branch, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Cincinnati.

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After Miyoshi Tatsuji The xeriscape garden, we walked through. Under the trees, the world, ten degrees cooler. C. would identify the plants by their names: agave, green palo verde, baja […]

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