Cactus Skin

by Kim Upchurch

Photography by Nicole Moore

must we become a desert cactus—

our world ever hotter ever more volatile?

surely we will grow waxy skin

to conserve fluids long before

we must conserve fuel;

our pores will shrink

and open only at night —

we cannot sleep from the heat—

and hope breezes bring the remedy;

we—who have mastered so many many

things—will surely master moisture and heat;

surely we—who hoard wealth and excess

so well—will excel at collecting water;

or maybe even make it from scratch…

we have already grown the prickly

barbs and spikes we need for the job.

Kim Upchurch is an emerging poet and writer from Austin, Texas.A former educator, she also serves as the primary caregiver for one of her daughters who has cerebral palsy, a role which has given a deeper understanding of diversity, adversity, and our shared humanity.

Hailing from San Antonio, Nicole Marie Moore travels to West Texas during chili fest season as often as she can. Her interest in photography also draws her to the majesty of this landscape, soul-inspiring and unique. She currently holds an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from Texas State University.