[He keeps handing me cacti]

Materialized by Thomas Hobohm on Monday, March 20th 2023.

He keeps handing me cacti to hold, saying Can you hold this for just a second? At first, I gripped them with my bare hands, wrapped my fingers around their emerald spines, pricked my palms with them. He was gentle and quiet until my hands filled up, then he made me his pushpin, began to press them against my body like Velcro, hook to loop. Now I have succulents dangling off every part of me, I’m sharp and dangerous, I look scary, and even when they’re all finally removed, the spines will never leave me.

Thomas Hobohm lives in San Francisco but grew up in Texas. They are 22 years old and single. They are the Web Editor at The Adroit Journal. Their work is published or forthcoming in Poetry Online, SmokeLong Quarterly, and The Worcester Review. Find them at https://www.thomashobohm.com/.