Stray Dog and Cactus

Nothing has remained of my past home

except my bare neck, hairless as cactus who chooses to belong to no one.

He is the president of my own imaginary country,

long time exiled once he started believing

his skin was never meant to grow needles.


I am looking to make a nest far from the helmet of the soldier

who died from trying to tear down a fortress made out of his own medals.

And I am still limping through the highways inside the asphalt flute

with so many exit holes.


I was so hungry seeing so many funerals on my way to the country

where cacti have the shape of dog smiles

chewing the map inherited from wolfs, my ancestors

who didn’t live long enough to show me the right direction. 


It took me time to admit I will never be a guide dog

to lead the blindness of the gardener to the wire fence

where cactus flowers grow, 

where the sound of the flute escapes through more than one hole. 


Walking to my new nest on my new paws

and singing along the highway some old songs about wolves

I feel the breeze on my neck where a tight collar used to be,

where only a few hairs remain.

But still I feel like a cactus

in full bloom.


- Natasha Nuhanovic