The fire beetle only mates when the chaparral is burning, and the water beetle will only mate in the rain. In the monastery’s kitchen, the nuns don’t believe me when I tell them how old I am, that you were married before. The woman you find attractive does not believe me when I look at her kindly. There are candescent people in the world. It will only be love that I love you with. When we get home, there will be our kitchen, the dishes undone. There will be our bedroom. What is it you eventually recognized in my face that allowed you to believe me? Beauty that did not come from you— remember how it did not come from you? As white sage does not come from the moon but is found by it and lit. The Buddhists say that the front of the paper cannot exist without the back. Because there is a there, there is a here. Chaparral, the density of growth, and the tattered chaps the mappers wore through it because they had to, to keep walking without being hurt. It is OK if we hurt one another. Chaparral needs fire. (The pinecones would not open otherwise.) Love needs lover, whose last lover was flood.
Leah Naomi Green
I cut a cantaloupe from its rind and hold it, scalped and slipping. Inside it, there are seeds in folding rows, dark in the concentric hollow, and I don’t know how I will remove them, and I don’t know how they keep one another, in loose grasp, from falling, or what they would touch if they fell. Washing dishes she notices, and is startled by the dent at the base of her thumb that appears when she holds her hand splayed and the forearm does not quite meet the smaller bones. Morning in the kitchen, light bright metal in the sink, I go to stand beside her, show her my own, matching hollow. Slowly we are removing from our belief those who, we’ve been taught, understand things, the calm ones in clean shoes. Tenderly we are removing them, from the walls like fire escapes that have allowed us to sit inside without concern. Inside we find that we are standing, together at the sink and we begin to cut the melon whichever way we can.