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Tonja Robins


Saguaro Woman Sings Love Songs to Herself

  

In the moon when my older sisters’ fruit ripens
I drink trays of rain, swell my pleated middle.
By the moon when fat falls from animals,
my hairy toes gripping sand long for a dew-sip
but clouds too lose their fat.
My crown rises toward tinny stars.

 

Forty years and I’ve just learned to flower
for birds and bats whose wings stir love
above my waxy white charms,
and my many crimson tongues
black-seeded and holy-sweet
will be gathered by Desert People
with fecund eyes and my ancestors’ ribs.
I give them songs, weave theirs within my own.

 

Seventy years to raise one arm,
the weight testing my balance till a man
shot it off, the smell still stuck on my spines.
So many peckers housed in my succulence
while the pack rat and pocket mouse
nibble till all fallen flesh is gone.

 

Sunset swirls, makes me a loud skirt
then I haul up a big cold moon,
pin myself to night’s hair,
and next morning a dust devil
slaps his sandy hands on my thighs.
But so many I wear down
with the desert’s immaculate patience.

 

The cholla buds and soon my petals
resurrect, fall and dry hard as blades,
each flower leaving a cradle for fruit.
The people return with my bursting,
harvest and dance slowly, their feet tossing
dust up to fatten the clouds.  Naked
and spiny I am a woman of heat
and nectar, chest full of creatures,
smitten with the people who sweetly pinch
my teats to rub my red milk on their hearts.

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Saguaro.gif

Tonja Robins, a native of Illinois, has published a collection of poems, Poetryland, about World Heritage site Cahokia Mounds located just east of St. Louis.  She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina—Greensboro and currently lives and teaches in Iowa City, IA.  Her poems have appeared in Sun Dog,  Southeastern Review, Greensboro Review, Corraddi, Coe Review, Fertile Source, Prairie Wolf Press, the Lunar Calendar and Blue Pitcher among other places.

 

All Responses:

Respond to a Prompt:

Submit your response to our current prompt(s). See our Submissions Guidelines page for details.

Saguaro.gif

Tonja Robins, a native of Illinois, has published a collection of poems, Poetryland, about World Heritage site Cahokia Mounds located just east of St. Louis.  She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina—Greensboro and currently lives and teaches in Iowa City, IA.  Her poems have appeared in Sun Dog,  Southeastern Review, Greensboro Review, Corraddi, Coe Review, Fertile Source, Prairie Wolf Press, the Lunar Calendar and Blue Pitcher among other places.