Double Exposure

by Mary Logan

In Sabino Canyon a towering

prickly pear cactus leans dying.

In her macabre gown, heat-roasted black,

tousled dry paddles droop thornless,

a mass of dark peeling hands.
On the ground, fallen skeletons

shed their riven skins by the hundreds,

reveal cargo of tiny wooden-lace trees.

In nocturnal cool these brittle forests

marry the sand.
Higher above the sad skirt: the wonder! Branching green

a resolute girth of living scaffold crowns with bees,

hardy prickles wink gold among orange and magenta fruit.

She is figging! in this sanctuary of pollination,

in this fierce place of subtraction.

Mary Logan returned to poetry after forty-five years in visual arts and ministry. Living in Black Mountain, North Carolina, for ten years has called up many roots waiting for the right soil. She is privileged to descend from generations of writers, and sees fine writing emerge in her daughters and their daughters.

About Double Exposure—While recently visiting Tucson, I found this standing mother cactus. She seems to be a living paradox of hard living, hard dying, and the beauty in both.