Cactus by Jane Frank

I hadn’t thought a lot
about my first kiss
though I remember his mouth
tasted salty and raw.
My eyes were open to the sky,
distant velveteen,
prickly pear flowers
arranged like pom poms along
fleshy pads of green,
the world suddenly dense and tangled.
He kept interrupting with words
like dribbled cochineal,
words that coloured me.

It all came back when I saw him
in a city lift last week
and he was lost for words.
We stood in silence for six floors
while I thought of the purple
fruits of youth, the yellow flowers
that surrounded us by the sea
that summer morning,
the soft sincerity
of holding hands.

He stood there like a desert prop,
immovable just like them:
drought resistant
but watery to the core.

Jane Frank beach photo

Jane Frank’s poems have appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Writ, Uneven Floor, Yellow Chair Review, Antiphon, The Lake and elsewhere in Australia and the UK. Jane teaches a range of writing disciplines at Griffith University in both Brisbane and on the Gold Coast in south east Queensland.




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