Queen of the Night*

Creamy cactus buds, feathered with pink curving petals.

Shy flamingos sparsely shelter in thick, darkly unassuming leaves.

Sun sets, ushering in the cooling desert dawn,

The Queen’s one chance at immortality.

Another dune shelters a second hopeful corps de ballet,

Essential to the dance.


Groups of the troupe,

Pale petals stretch to Mother Moon.

Bud becomes blossom,

Stamens shake their sweetness, splay to the bat’s slow tongue.

Moon rises higher as bat flits from flower to flower.


It takes a village to pollinate the Queen.


Moon curtsies, fades away.

Blossom droops and dies,

Holding the future in her belly.


© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2017)

* The Selenicereus grandiflorus, Night-blooming Cereus cactus, blooms but once a year and only at night. It is her only opportunity to reproduce.

Carrot Ranch Prompt (06/15/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that symbolically, mythically, mystically, or realistically involves dawn, as a noun or verb. Write about the dawn of time or the time of dawn, or the dawning of an idea. As always, go where the prompt leads.

5 thoughts on “Queen of the Night*

    • Only seen these through the magic of Google: publications from Park Service and gardeners’ websites, for details. And of course, Youtube! My take was to treat moonrise as a different kind of dawn for these cactus orchids that bloom one night a year and all at the same time. Fascinating FAQs out there, and the pic included is a public domain photo of the bloom.



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