The light on the ground here flickers like flames
burning across this patio, where birds peck then
look me in the eye. I wish I could
live off so little, crumbs and glances that weigh
almost nothing, but I’d fail like light imitating fire.
The newspaper tells us the new death toll and the breeze
confirms the forest fire has restarted with the help
of the Sierra’s high winds. You will arrive here soon with
our little bird dog, who won’t sit still for all the birds’
taunts. Cayenne, Cayenne, little pepper of a dog,
sesame in the tail, licking at the crumbs smelled
in the stirred piles of dead leaves and ashes
falling around us like snow. This is almost beautiful.
But, what summer is this? What rain?
And who hasn’t set fire to the fields of their life
and seen the scorched earth’s promise of renewal?
When you arrive here soon, the radio will bleat
its purple wounds, as I press my eyes into you
and consider leaving your skin’s fields, elbow of a creek,
small hill of knee, the stomach’s meadow,
where I will see the smoke veil and soften this
flawed metaphor, and lift into the air almost like love.