The cactus in your August garden,
there for over a decade,
blossomed its yearly magenta orb
the same time that a flower of cells
inside your breast multiplied.

No sweet red flower
surrounded by spikes
to ward away an enemy,
but a dividing clump of cells
offering no protection.

I want you to be the cactus
that survives in arid ground—
you, who have always loved the desert,
its stark soil and ruby suns,
now must cope with your own terrain.

The cactus flower will dry and drop,
leaving tawny spines to protrude
on its flat green armor.
Defending what is lost,
it remains beautiful in the land it is rooted in.