The cactus when it blooms

Jill Martindale Farrar

To no schedule but her own
mostly, maybe, after rain though
sometimes drought decides

She sits and bares her teeth
surviving soil as poor as stone
and crooked stares

Medea in her battlements
equipped with barbs
impervious, immune
to beauty’s rules

And season’s rhyme
till some whim or enduring 
rage weeps from her

her defensive turrets crow			

Letting blood
betray a need,
first crimson 
leeching through her
stately trademark thorns

extends a paw ⸺
and all at once
her angry shape shifts
to something simpler, 
and still more complex: 
small bulbs burst

Her expensive threat
erupts 	

and showers dainty motes,
upon assailants,
bright as sun.



Jill Martindale Farrar is a writer working from the NSW South Coast. Her PhD (UWS) The Glossary, looks at ‘the text in the margins’. Her work has appeared in Meanjin, Aspect, Overland and TEXT, her journalism in Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue, HQ, Australian Financial Review.

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