Poems of the Week

Death of an Old Hand

by Julia Griffin

“A centuries-old cactus survived everything; then summer rains came.”
The Washington Post

Long have I stood here in old Arizona:
Nobody knows the mirages I’ve seen,
Holding my fingers up high like a loner,
Roping the sunlight and working it green.

Never the heat nor the dryness could hurt me:
Proudly I bore it when others would fry;
Now comes the rain and my tissues desert me;
Broken at last in my spurs I must lie.

Ages I’ve known, though your estimates vary;
Mourn for me now where I made my last stand;
Oh bury me deep in what’s left of the prairie;
Wave your farewell to a faithful Old Hand.