Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Hedgehog cactus

Norah Booth



Ode to Hedgehog Cactus


In the Pope's tongue

your name is


But in Sonora

we lovingly call you



Pithy curmudgeon,

you are one ball of

ornery black spikes

rooted in rock


A pincushion

small enough

to fit in a hand

You never grunt


Once every year

Primo Vere dances in

pins a claret cup,

an offering to the firstlings,

on your crown


For four days

you gleefully sport

your downside-up


even in starlight


Happy hog,

your tipsy topper


a hummer's head

whole and

—just for fun—

brilliantly paints

the bird's noggin



Desert’s darling,

you offer your sweet desserts

to any clever enough

to get past

the pricks




As a freelance journalist Tucson native Norah Booth has chronicled the destruction of pristine Sonoran desert habitat. In addition to magazines like Poets and Writers she has published in Many Mountains Moving and Cultural Corridors of Pima County.