Midlife Cactus

Midlife Cactus

by Beth Cagle Burt

You are the cactus
I gave you
on your fortieth birthday.

Not the prick
of the diabetic needle
in the forefinger,

not the kamikaze
needle to my gut,
five millimeters, ten,

but the thin
yellow spines
of the oblong dome

held in place
with my tongs
while I trickle soil

along the roots,
the head
almost too pale

to be called green;
you never looked good
in that color.

With more succulence
than a cucumber,
you stand upright

beside hen
without chicks’
caliginous tongues.

I forget to water
until this very moment.

refers from the word tongues in Foster Cameron Hunter’s poem The Significance of Singing Fruit

  1. I love the layerdness of this poem, accomplished in such short lines, no less. Excellent!

  2. Thanks for commenting Lynn! Perhaps you can find something to refer from or to? 🙂

  3. I hope to have time to write this week and will cogitate, Jessie. Thanks for the nudge!

  4. Thanks, Lynn, for your insightfulness! This makes it all worth while :-).

  5. Lovely, lovely poem. I agree with Lynn’s insightful comments.

  6. Beth Cagle Burt

    Thank you so much for your positive comments on my prickly poem :-).

  7. Amazing poem! Loved the title, too, and the ending . . .and everything in between. 🙂

  8. Beth Cagle Burt

    Thanks, Debbie!
    Writing the poem was bittersweet…but also fun as I enjoyed “unloading” a tough subject in a lighter manner. That always gives me new perspectives to ponder. So glad you enjoyed it!

  9. This wraps “mid-life” up grandly. Well done.

  10. Beth Cagle Burt

    Thanks, Christopher. I do believe a large portion of people must deal with the “mid-life cactus” either directly or indirectly….Some of us simply have more spines than others, right? 🙂

  11. Ha. Yes, I’ve been a particularlz spiny mid-lifer myself. 🙂

  12. I hate it when the z and the y are switched on the keyboard. Argh

  13. Love this. 🙂

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