On Being Immortal Cacti

When I was walking home from work today, I stabbed the sky and made it rain. It was an accident; I'm sorry.

I think I've lived too long without the sun, too long without water. It’s made me crazy. It's no excuse, I know—I'm supposed to be able to live without either for years at a time. But isn't this daily monotony of drought a little meaningless? And you return to your dark, dry locker just as a machine does; you go back to the house that is not a home that looks the same as all the other four-walled prison cells.


I have to admit it. I wanted to change something.

It was a useless protest, an act of selfish desperation. I'm sorry I hurt you, dear sky. All you ever desired from me was complete compliance, and I tried; I really did. I have been loyal for many years. Decades even. Or centuries? I've lost track. How stupid. You just needed me to keep your world running smoothly. Which is why I have showed up to your factory, packing air in cardboard boxes, every single day since you commissioned my birth. That was all you needed from me, and I'm so sorry I hurt you.

When I slid my blade into your throat, you were sleeping. Evening is especially flattering on you. I'm not sure if you felt it, but maybe there will be the smallest of scars on the round pocks of your skin. Raindrops slid from your wound for a few seconds and the earth was greedy and sucked up all the evidence, a willing accomplice. Then the tear closed up again. It was like I was never even there. It was like I had never rebelled. The knife dried quickly. I avoided anyone I noticed on the streets and hurried to my container.

I was still so scared, you see. I was scared that you would punish me. They have said that you are made of nothing but mercy, although there were those times when Lichen never came back after she broke her arm, and Wort was sent away after he ripped a hole in the universe (which we quickly plugged up), and Bog slept through his alarm and came late to work and was disappeared, as is the way of things. Oh well, I suppose they were defective. But I don't think you ever noticed me. Not even with the telltale water dripping from my shirtsleeves. I don't think you noticed last week when one of my friends dug a deep hole, stepped inside it, and buried himself alive. He's probably dead now. I haven't checked.

I really am sorry for what I did.

I understand the depth of my offense. I walked home today with the knife hidden behind my back and an apologetic flower held up in offering.

(I kept it. It's thrown into the back of my closet, where I keep my work suits. I hope it will shrivel and settle to silt on its own.)

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