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Around the Fire after a Brief Rain

                                    Sebastian Matthews


That time of forgetting we share on the Audobon House lawn in Santa Fe,
sprawled in a patch of fire-ant-free grass after a long walk up the trickle stream;

sky rotating overhead, soup of clouds in bowl of backlit hills chock full
of dusty pines; stone walls fortressing us so the spring plants can sing

to their bees, & we talk on about all the strife in the world, about marriage
& self, and you say Really all I want is THIS, which we take to mean

the moment, a constellation of friends, awareness encircling everything,
triangulated flow of connection. Like me & Jon out in the light rain

in his beloved courtyard, fire in its pit, stars in a ring of dark, desert
plants rustling and dark murmuring. Inside: gossip & music, food & wine

but the two of us outside, letting the rain stipple our bodies, little arrows
shot from invisible bows. Can you capture what it feels like to slow down

so that you’re inhabiting a headless body? Or what it means to pass this
awareness back & forth? How the fire becomes the living metaphor.

Time morphs again & now more souls appear around the fire & the group
finishes off another bottle. Our laughter rises up out of our fatigue,

french-kisses the clouds that I know but can’t see over us—maybe
a raven flies in, guided by its instinct from arroyo to hilltop to tree.

So much love held between us, all our joy laid out in words. The fire
shifts its muttered syllables; the night sky answers back in gusts

that carry sage and sand and silt—an exhausted boy warming
in the oven of his sister’s arms.


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