The Cactus Ballgown

This dress should be kept for those prickly occasions

when you sense dryness, and wish to make a point.


Take care. Such sun-sanded satin is not easily

removed once you grow into its green sheen.


Do not plan on letting anyone close.

They will only get hurt. These flowers are not


for picking. Instead, strengthen your spine,

prepare for the pain of being justly deserted.


Above all, beware of the needles when you undress

alone, your skin riddled now with pins.


(From ‘plenty-fish’, Nine Arches Press, 2015. First published in ‘Magma’.)