“Cactus,” “cutlet” and “pumpkin”

Issue 35 by Natalie Warther

“Cactus,” “cutlet” and “pumpkin”

Cactus

I wait for a sign that you need me:

a wilting arm, dry soil,

but you give me nothing

so I trickle water into your mouth.

Just enough to tame my own thirst.

---

What bothers me most is the way you reach for the sun

though she never reaches back.

She could burn you a million times, and still,

you’d wear your crispy hickeys with pride.

Foolish.

---

On Monday I water you.

On Wednesday I water you.

On Friday I water you.

On Sunday I water you twice.

---

The changes come slowly:

black at the base.

The first signs of decay.

---

You look sick now.

Like a cucumber.

---

I bury you in the shade.

cutlet

i knew it was coming

so i asked you to wait

while i showered

cleaning myself

the way wives clean cutlets

in the sink

before they shine them with butter

slice off the fat

and feed the scraps

to dogs

who drool spit

down their legs

and onto the floor

i was clean

when you told me

you didn’t want me

anymore

pumpkin

i lay the newspaper out

put you down

and map your end out

it’s easy

seeds first

then i remove

your hairs

your guts

your veins

spoons

and knives

and towels

and wipes

and bowls

of your slop

slick and wet

orange never looked so good on me

now you’re empty

flame

spills out of

the shapes I made

autumn came

you changed

don’t say you’re sorry

it’s too late

About the Author

Natalie Warther

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Natalie Warther is a senior writer at 72andSunny and an M.F.A candidate at Bennington College. Her fiction and non fiction has appeared in Darling Magazine, Funicular, and Thrice Publishing, among other publications. Natalie lives in Los Angeles.