by Anatoly Belilovsky
Bit by a thorn,
I have become a were-cact-
us. It was fated.
Once I went out often, hoping to attract
a soul-mate, to whom I would be… mated?
But now I stay indoors,
All were-cacti do, both of the ones I know.
We are averse
to winds that blow
and tousle leaves, bend stems, snap branches, scatter seed, raise dust;
we need our peace, my thorns and I. We must
avoid getting over-stimulated.
We'll stay unbent, untouched, unworn,
Anatoly Belilovsky is a Russian-American SF author who has appeared in the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Ideomancer, Nature Futures, Daily Science Fiction, and on several podcasts. He was born in a city that went through six or seven owners in the last century; he is old enough to remember tanks rolling through it on their way to Czechoslovakia in 1968. After being traded to the US for a shipload of grain and a defector to be named later, he learned English from Star Trek reruns, apparently well enough to be admitted into SFWA without the requisite number of cats. He blogs at loldoc.net
Photography: adapted from an unpublished photograph by Shweta Narayan. Used with permission.