Shelter in Place Poem Day 9

I am thinking about Tupperware. I am thinking about fire and air, earth and water.

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Dear fire, when you take everything, do you take everything? The black field of your wake is dotted with seeds we can’t see. Right?

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It was so windy metal chairs scooted across the deck like clumsy oversized crabs.

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When the fire or whatever takes everything, it still leaves the dirty dishes. They still have to be loaded and unloaded. The Tupperware won’t dry unless it’s set out on the dish rack, in the air.

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Dogs seem particularly of the earth, especially this one, who my neighbors found running with a pack beside a gas station in rural New Mexico; who came when they called, malnourished, mangy, wagging; who they dropped off at a shelter while they backpacked for three nights; who they picked up on the way home after no one had claimed him; who they offered to us to keep because I’d said we could get a dog “when one came into our lives.”

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Our house doesn’t even really touch the ground: built on the side of a hill, it rests on huge metal stilts. It shakes when the wind blows hard, which happens often.

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Snow. Snow is a form of water, my least favorite form, except for ice, which is worse.

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The dog was good at first, and gentle with the cats. He sniffed the frosty dead grass stalks for rabbits.

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I keep organizing the Tupperware and it keeps getting messed up, as though a tiny hurricane blows through the drawer each night while we sleep.

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Dear fire, you can’t live without air, but water is your enemy.

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The snow silences the street as the dog and I walk through it. He would prefer not to be on a leash; I would prefer not to be outside at all, though I try to notice how pretty the world is covered in white, how huge the moon when the clouds reveal it.

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We walk the dog on the mesa. One foot in front of the other, we climb up almost every day.

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Dear fire, when you take everything, everything does eventually return, bringing to mind a tree in winter, a tree in summer, a tree in spring, a tree in fall. Is it the same tree, or a different tree? It is not a different tree; it is not the same.

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When we climb the mesa in the wind advisory, dirt blows into our eyes and mouths. We illegally unleash the dog. We can see the city from up there, shrouded in light from the sunset, burning. The dog prances in the troubled air.

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