A True Story
Once a friend in Arizona
bought a cactus plant,
heart shaped, with a yellow bud
tilted elegantly to the side
like a woman’s good Sunday hat.
She placed the gray clay pot
on her coffee table,
and after a few days she noticed
that the plant started to move.
Concerned, she called a flower shop
asking the florist,
“How can I get it to stop?”
The florist shrieked “get out of
the house!” He called the police,
the fire department, a pet store—
A man in a beekeeper’s garb
(all the town could afford)
roped off the house and the yard,
placed the plant in the middle of the lawn
and split it wide like a watermelon
to find a nest of scorpions writhing
in the afternoon sun.
those hothouse babies
hidden under the cactus’ tough sharp spines,
waved their feelers,
bowed their heads,
as if they were guilty of something.
Copyright 2006 January G. O'Neil
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