Frustrated, I look to your stems to find the answers in your past. There I discover two types of stems: one is thick and yellowish, with large thorns widely spaced so they can easily be avoided; the other is thin and green, with thorns, like the small sharp teeth of a carnivorous fish, that pierce wherever one touches the stem. I discover that you have the flamboyance of a mutt, grown from parents of such differing temperaments that you toss your hands in the air and say “to hell with it—I am me.”
For all of your swagger, you haven’t lost your sweetness. In fact, the ants literally love you to death, and devour some of your buds whole before they have the chance to blossom. There is a callousness in the jagged stumps the ants leave behind, like the remnants of a forest fire.
But you are a survivor, and I meet you there: In the yellow shadows of the sky after a long, hot day, when the sun has burned through the cool blue, and you are still resilient with color.