Ode To Prickly Pears

All those poems that compare women
to flowers: they never made sense. I live
in a land full of iron and dust. Even the sky
bleaches under unrelenting sun. Our rivers
are traced on maps in blue. That confused
me; the river beds we walk along, dry veins
of land, except after summer monsoon rains.
What are the spring flowers? They’re golds,
barely brighter than the dust. Not nearly as exuberant
as sundrenched women. This year, we got so little rain.
The river is gone, the desert barely blooms. I look
at brittlebush, creosote in little clumps. Only in late
summer will the prickly pear tubas, their spikey flesh
red, the size of a heart, start to approximate you.

Andrea Janelle Dickens

Andrea Janelle Dickens is originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains and now lives in the Sonoran Desert, where she resides among the sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in New South, Ruminate, and The Wayfarer, among others. When not writing poems, she’s making pottery in her ceramics studio or tending hives of bees.