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The Aloe vera patch in the front yard looks
parched. I have always regarded the lowly Aloe
as quintessentially Southwestern, but then today
at the nursery called Desert Survivors, Bruce
of the straw hat and leather-saddle neck will gently
unhinge me with a reminder of its Asian origins.
Organism deeply incognito, and being included in
anything’s the same as being trapped in it.
I can live with that. Survival, after all, does turn
on desperation. As proof, potted capsicum rows
explode in a riot of belonging, upside-down blooms
an argument for heritable form, I grow needlessly
tired and yellow in thought of. Instinctively, one
wants to be the native plant in its ancestral loam,
one wants a resistance to the sun, to shun full rainfall
for a flash of morning dew, or at very least, grow
some throwaway limbs. I love this place but the urge
to go to Home Depot and buy the most generic franken-
fern I can find is overwhelming. Vera is true. Boring
constant, thirsty. What origins are for but setting off from?
Give me the lowly weed. Before me, place nothing
but the impure barbs along your spears, each an arm,
welcoming the water in. I can stand the sun. How regular
it is to be in awe of having come from anywhere.

Cameron Quan Louie is from Tucson, Arizona. He received his MFA from the University of Washington, he has worked with Wave Books, and he was a Multiplying Mediums Fellow in 2016. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and he received the McLeod-Grobe Prize for Poetry in 2017. His poems, nonfiction, and erasures have appeared in Inter|rupture, Duende, The Gravity of the Thing, Sonora Review, Quarterly West, Hobart, jubilat, and elsewhere. You can find him at

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