this summer has been one of extreme comings and goings. we leave for days at a time. we return home. the house fills with family. they depart and more arrive. then the house empties itself out again. we load up our days—on the bay, at the mountains, in town, in the backyard—so they overflow in an endless tide of activity, and through it all we must, of course, find nourishment and be fed....
in the morning i wonder what we might eat
during these dog days of summer—
it's too humid for casseroles or baked potatoes
or simmering stews. in the heat those foods
seem unappetizing; they'll have to wait
until it's cold enough to put our sweaters on.
it appears to me to be a day for something crisp
and cool—a day for salad—and so
i purchase—since i no longer grow vegetables—
a few tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers
& other things that may form a salad.
i glance out the window toward a large pot on the sunny
deck and remember the basil plant from texas
that arrived by mail for mother's day—
only three inches high in a miniature terrarium—
now it waves tall and lush in a small breeze,
a few tiny holes visible between the leaves'
veins where bugs have snacked.
i pluck a—bug-free!—handful
still hot with light
and move inside to wash, peel, chop and toss,
a flurry of movement—streaks of color, flying hands—
fingers like winged creatures fluttering through
a door toward something just beyond the opening.
i listen to clink, clink—salad servers and forks—chords
rising ecstatic against pretty blue pottery plates,
the cadence of evening voices
tendril notes of family gathered 'round a table,
crunching, gnashing, chomping by the shadowy
light of melting candles that flicker
and weep wax.
but outside in the world of bright, unwavering moonlight
i know there is another kind of comfort, a small silence
demanding nothing, not even to be fed. an infinity
of stars over us, an oasis of dew on the grass
under us, all of it moving, going somewhere, as beetles
alight on sweet tender growth, pause a moment
in between bites, and confirm that it is good.