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Cactus Flower

By Amir Rabiyah

We flash victory signs in the darkness, so the darkness may glitter.
                — Mahmoud Darwish

As the sun sets—we set our plan into motion.
Our sole purpose to overthrow

any assumptions, to change
the course of ordinary thinking.

Our work begins by speaking to darkness
and telling darkness    soon   :

             we will demonstrate through the secrecy of stars,

earth’s magnetic embrace
how we can be many things at once.

So much of the work we do
is internal, goes unnoticed, uncompensated.

We get written off or not written at all,
labeled freakish, prickled,
rough around the edges.

We learn to thrive
in the dry humor of soil;
carry water in our bellies
to quench our own thirst.

We survive, over again.
Adapt. Even after being
carried in the beaks of birds,
dropped elsewhere,

far from our roots, we grow.
We flourish.
And when least expected, when histories

not told by us, for us, claims we are defeated,

we gather our tears as dew.                        We release our anguish,
intoxicated by our own sexed pollen.
                                                              We burst,

displaying the luscious folds of our petals.



Listen as Amir Rabiyah reads "Cactus Flower."

Added: Tuesday, October 9, 2018  /  From "Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics," (Nightboat Books, 2013). Used with permission.
Amir Rabiyah

Amir Rabiyah is a queer, trans, disabled poet. They are the co-editor of Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, and the author of the poetry collection Prayers for my 17th Chromosome, which was a finalist for the 2017 Publishing Triangle Award. Amir's work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and explores living life on the margins and at the intersections of multiple identities. Amir writes about living with chronic pain and illness, war, trauma, spirituality, healing, redemption--and speaks on silenced places. Please visit their website.

Other poems by this author