Green Tomatoes in Fire Season

Green Tomatoes in Fire Season


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.

Tonight, god-willing,
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.