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
The deer is still alive in the roadside grass. In an hour, we'll cut her open, her left hip broken, the bone in her dark body; now the white Camaro shocked in the night and the boy wet-faced in the back seat, his parents at a loss by the hood, too young to have meant any of it: the giving or taking. They are glad for our headlights, glad for our rifle. Her head still on, she hangs outside our kitchen window for the blood to drip, skin pulled down like a shirt. I watch my husband undress her with a knife. I wash the blue plates. When I turn the water off, I can hear his blade unmoor muscle, sail through her fascia. We put her leg and buttock on the wooden table, where we will gather her between us to eat all year. It is all I ever see: a thing, alive, slowly becoming my own body.