Hadley Paul Garland, "Moon Set," 2009
“While most plants open up their stomata during the day, cacti and other nocturnal plants such as the agaves and aloes open their pores at night.” - LiveScience
Opening up’s risky in a dry country. That star near our skin is desiccant, lifting enough moisture from every pore to make our blood thick, our thoughts parched. So we adapt, become nocturnal, move like revenants among moonlit cacti. Even the spectrum shuts: at this midnight hour it’s all rods and scotopic vision, no cones or colors. There’s a pulse to these nighttime walks, the heart’s systole and diastole echoing stomata as they close, then open. We breathe together; our spines gather dew. Above us, jeweler’s velvet and the spilled bowl of far stars arcing: fermata with a dot of moon. Stomata and lips part open in the high desert night; inspiration and exhalation, an exchange of damp sighs across taxonomies, sighs but no sounds save a dry scuffle: a mouse darting out of sight, perhaps, near the base of a dozing creosote, stomata shut. Astronomies older than ours were an opening up, a gaze into mystery; my insomniac self lies awake, on the other side of that history.