las tunas / the fruit I had been looking for, 2020​ 

Deconstructed Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri (Texas prickly pear), Nikon DSLR

 

Reflections On Queer Isolation.

 

As a queer person I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which this form of forced isolation not only separates us from our community but also from the habits we keep in maintaining the bodies we 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 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.

 

Thoughts come to me in a swarm that never settles, like the black flightless cacti beetles that mock and crawl around clusters of protective spines so they can cling to the flores they came here for. One by one I watch them climb over each other in gluttony, coating their swollen bodies with bright yellow pollen they will hoard and keep for themselves. Only when they are bloated and finished, the once wide open forms with pallettes like small fires will wilt and close in the shade. Empty and exhausted they fall to the ground where they will lay to rest in pieces so fleshy pink fruits can take its place. 

 

I hold their sunburnt petals too tightly while what's left of their spines slip sharply into my palms. 

 

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

 

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

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

I want to say that maybe this was all just for them,

 

but first it was for me.

 

4.15.2020