Your arms hold me as if I’m made of mouth-blown glass,
Inside your embrace friends are evacuating,
Somewhere people are bracing for a storm,
baby condors are too young to fly out
of the burning valley.

Still other friends are relying on the kindness
of medical personnel and oxygen.
On the tips of your fingers moving up my spine
are all the words that make up a condolence,
words I will repeat this year.

Nobody can take one more thing, and yet we do.
I chop zucchini, break the asparagus,
cut an avocado in half and scoop out the flesh.
I don’t have to cook for you, you say,
we could take out, or eat at the bakery.

But the kitchen is where all love begins,
ends and begins again.
Where we heal each other with china and glass,
butter knives and spices, a cracked plate.
We live in the ember and the wine resin.

This is not a poem about love –
it’s how we hold the compass to truth north
in an old pocket in a dusty closet,
How the wisdom we need today
shows up in a story from years ago.

After dinner, we make love.
It isn’t quick like a flame,
but slow like the long walk home
after the meteor showers.

Your palm and my tongue forgive the years.
You lift my hips bones to meet the grief and joy
and somewhere in the world, as we both cry out,
a fully charred tree
is teaching another how to sprout again.