We live in a perpetually burning building,
and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.
Embers in the gloaming spit like tickseed from grasses, tiny fires too multiplied for the jars and reach of granddaughters, sparks freed from molten layers below. Even the purple light draping high-hatted oaks cannot dull the goldmound spirea, the spider lilies’ lumen, nor quiet the youth of the new sheepdog at my feet. If our shaky earth is indeed a timber house perpetually afire, where only love can rush in and save us, let its burning cover the native ground we live and perish on, maddened with loss in between. Let it flare and singe our eyebrows, the nests of squirrels and mockers, release their chittering at our malice aforethought, uneasy purification. The sepia photos of great-greats we stack by the curb, the recipe box with handwritten cards, our back and forth still maddened with heartache. We rest a moment to clear our lungs, take the tally of disaster versus rescue. We count our blessings, though the blackened corners flake off at our touch.