Braden Coucher

Rookie (December 10,1986 / Portland Oregon)

Magnoliopsida - Poem by Braden Coucher

My father plays no poker but drinks in the evening,
And at ten, on our polished off cupboard

Dumbly sits my cactus environment: an elementary science
Project. We are creating a habitat,
A cactus
Of the Native American succulent family
In a two liter bottle. My shaking fingers settle

The prickly pear in its transparent house, the spikes
Stick to my thumb and forefinger.
I can't quite settle the roots. My hand
Hooked inside, I can only whine
And stare into the bottle, now muddied and fogged.

I blush, wince and my clawed hand
Leaves condensation on the container but can’t escape.
The invisible poison soaks into the softness
Of my young skin.
My father pulls out of the bottle
My little hand
And I whine, trying to rinse away the pain
But the poison made its mark.
We'll water in the morning.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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