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Friends

By , Albuquerque, NM

They are short and sharp, their needles pointing in every direction. Sometimes they whisper, help help, on those days. The worst ones. The cactus with acicular edges that dig into your skin. They rest in a bed of dry rock and hold onto whatever they can find. They clutch tightly, and cry when they lose. I watch them, day by day, talking to them in an illiterate language. Short, small and slender with fragile skin just like me. Yes, we talk.
Our conversations are short, discerning. Hello, how was your day? Hello, are you ready for the next? They complain about being stuck in the same place everyday. I reply amicably; yes, yes, so am I.
We are quiet other days, communicating through hasty eye contact. We read each other's’ minds. Yes, I am here. No, I am not. Maybe I was never here.
They cry to each other as they wilt despite care. Their bodies uncontrollable and minds unreadable. Their needles fall off and their defenses fall flat.
Small, short, slender little cactus. Who cry and cry about their immobile cage. Free to air, yet never able to move. Through small gaps in the bars, they watch the world and turn away at the most pivotal moments. They wilt despite periodic love. Their spikes fall off and somehow, somehow, they are still alive. Still dully aware. They are there. And sometimes we talk.  And sometimes we stay silent.






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