Desert Jeep Tour—Saguaro

by Julia Fleeman

Yes, it does look like it’s waving at you.
That’s a saguaro, ma’am,
native to the Sonoran desert.
The blossom is our state flower.
That one? Oh I’d say about one hundred and fifty—
they don’t branch out before fifty.
See those large, dark holes?
There’s a bird, the cactus wren, that
builds its nest inside the body
of the saguaro.
The cactus builds up callus
around the nest.
Native people used them to make boots.
A state law protects saguaros,
but people still try to come out here
and dig them up.
Worse, they try to shoot them.
A couple years back, a fellow come out
to the desert and shot one up
but when he we went in close
to see how he’d done
the thing toppled over and killed him.
Yeah, I thought so, too.

A former librarian and yoga instructor, Julia Fleeman lives in Ahwatukee. She once participated in a poetry flash mob on the Phoenix light rail. Only one person ran from the car, screaming.