Cactus flower, I tell you what my father said. That’s a stupid idea, he said. He said, in a year I’ll be back in Argentina or I’ll be dead. Don’t put your life on hold, cactus flower. Cactus flower, there’s snow on you. This is a strange climate. I left him with a tube in his chest and my four year old sister in his care. I brought with me a staph infection from the hospital visits. Weeping sores, cactus flower, and snow dusting my shoulders, crowning my head. This is a strange climate, cactus flower. Ice on the windshield in the morning. I scrape it off with my fingernails because I have to go to the clinic and get antibiotics. Ice, and I cry.

I need to get to the clinic and I need to get home because I need to do my homework, I need to write this page for the class my father said I shouldn’t put off for a year. That would have been a stupid idea, cactus flower. From the window of the hospital in San Francisco I could see a thousand roofs that hadn’t born snow in a hundred years. Here everything is white.

My sister calls me, when my father dials the phone for her. She loves me, cactus flower. She hugged her father when he came home from the hospital and he cried out because she knocked her head against the tube in his chest. Cactus flower, why am I crying? That’s a stupid idea. In a year he’ll be dead or back in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, where it’s hot, where there are many flowers.

Hold me, cactus flower. Hold me in the snow. I’m cold. I’m crowned. I’m stupid. They cut a hole in his lungs and I’m seven hundred miles away. But in a year he will be three thousand miles south, or in the ground. You are a color, cactus flower. A color in the snow. Cactus flower, I’m sorry I had a stupid idea.