Caroline DeLuca
The Cactus' Lament

I never got to know
(love)             the birds and the bees
            who fucked     me      into being

                                                         this spiky solo        post
in the sand. Arms frozen in-
                                             vitation for hug eternal

doom   of thirst           They say
it’s tricky         to know I need

            drink when I’m           all spine
care                 when my bark             bites

            I hear  prickly             bitch
It’s in the dark             my spores glow
                                               private         waterworks

transpire         at night            Wait    up

Homo Sapiens

When we turn creature
we taste the core. We bleach
the floor with the matador
after laughing in the face of red flags.
When we turn creature
we adore each other’s
every goosebumped feature
without any phone
lines to fuzz out the heat, we drain
the creek, we lose speech
when we turn creature
and we’re not sorry
for a thing. When we
turn creature we yowl like hell and scratch
the record of the sky. When we
start stinking of ennui we stalk off and cry
wolf about the cave
of ghost coyotes, the Aurora Borealis,
the forest of swords, oh
how we howl for the sublime. When we turn
creature we smell blood
and we sleep smooth. No blinking
in the dread of night, no circles
in the sand of lore, no tour de remorse. We swore
off chasing our own tails
for new moon resolutions and in the night
we’re dead as driftwood besides,
when we turn creature. When we turn
creature I hunt down
the moon and you cover my tracks and I
am quiet quicksilver for the kill.
And then we roar and the black holes swear
to even the score but we shake
off fear from our fur. Droplets fly. When we turn creature
we bask in the peach orchard,
which sings our shadows back to us, and back
to us, and back to us.
You swim inside me, and my breath is in your ear
and my claws in your hide. When we turn creature we can’t
measure the pleasure in days
or scales. We sprint until our tendons snap
we dig until our paws
scrape igneous sizzle, only then
retreat to the other extreme:
panting, depleted on the shore, we beach
our bodies and wait to be
returned by the tide. Wherever we wash up
and still float becomes home.

Caroline DeLuca lives in Brooklyn, working as a freelance editor and educator. She has taught creative writing at Stony Brook University, the NY Memory Center, the UVA Young Writers Workshop, and My Sister’s Place. Her writing has appeared in Sartre Poetry, Snapdragon Journal, sirsee, and Rat's Ass Review.