las tunas / the fruit i had been looking for 

locally harvested cacti parts, Nikon D3500

Austin, TX

2020

As a queer person I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways that this form of forced isolation not only separates us from our community, but also from the habits we keep in maintaining the bodies we sometimes struggle to control. But what will we do when our reflections refuse to satisfy us? Who will we become when we are left only with ourselves?

 

Time shows itself these days in lawns and spots of body hair overgrown as they compete for my divided attention. Outside the first cacti are in bloom, and while our urban delights sit silent and shuttered- the budding spring flora has eagerly taken its place. All around me young nopales chatter softly in the sun and I can hear them calling my name in a tongue I know but cannot speak.

 

Instead, thoughts come to me as a swarm in the space underneath my skull like the black flightless beetles that crawl and cling to their flores. One by one I watch them climb over each other in their gluttony, coating their swollen bodies with bright yellow pollen that they will keep for themselves- leaving the empty and exhausted pale orange flowers to close in the shade and fall to the ground.

 

I hold their pale sunburnt petals too tightly in my hands and feel what’s left of their spines as they settle into my soft palms. 

 

I want to tell them how happy I am to carry them with me.  

 

I want to tell them how much they were and will be missed.
 

I want to tell them, with my chest bound and tanned skin, how far I have come for this.

 

I want to tell them with sweat dripping from my bottom lip

 

that maybe this is all just for them now,  

 

but first this was for me.

 

x