Jane Mary Curran | Tales of the cactus

Tales of the Cactus | Second Wind

The Christmas cactus was lovely this year, big bunches of

blossoms coming on in November, lasting ’til March when

the last shriveled and fell. Outside dead oak leaves clacked

in the wind. Dirty snow melted and froze again in a muddy

monochrome time.


One snowy spring morning, from its dormant complacency,

the cactus exploded in brilliant buds of new blossoms. A

vernal blast of red life through earth, root and stem. Mardi

Gras under ground? Tibetan New Year?


I pondered subterranean parties and the power needed to

press forward through endings and assumptions. I touched

the cactus, dripping with brilliance, and felt the force of a

second wind.


Tales of the Cactus | The Axis Mundi

In the east-facing sunroom

my dog snored in her crate.

Nearby in the window

my Christmas cactus

dripped with blooms.


I was the owner, keeper, provider.

I was the lady of their sunroom manor.


One morning last year in November

a dozen more blossoms

appeared overnight.

They were so striking,

I said to the dog,

“Do you see the blossoms?”

Then . . .I said,

“Do you know the cactus?”


The question stopped me cold

in my east facing sunroom.


Could the dog know the cactus?

And, to be fair,

could the cactus know the dog?

And what’s occurring

in my sunroom

if they both really know?


a staggering thought

broke through

anthropocentric assumptions


Am I truly the hub

for this whole arrangement?


On that quiet morning

last year in November

without a breath

to mark the place,

without a sigh

to mark the passing,

the axial mundi moved.




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