There is smoke in the air
when I go pick them.
I go despite panic, also because
inside I’ll make chutney.
For an hour or so, I unlatch them.
It is late fall. They will not ripen.
Firm pale green skins,
fine-coated in ash.
Our fire season goes all autumn now,
though today’s fire is not
yet near to us.
But the green tomatoes: I love their pale lobes.
we will fry some with cornmeal & fish.
Inside the air purifier whirs:
I will boil them with molasses & raisin.
Jar them for friends & the winter.
Disaster, we say, meaning bad star.
These are good green stars,
this is also their season.
Mask on, I bend & bend to the vine:
I bend & salvage what I can.