A little distance between our skin
is allowed as we walk the pumpkin rows.
The rain’s pattering calls us out,
a murmuring distraction.
Soil clogs our boots,
carrying its own dank perfume
of leaves frost-wilted
and soft decay where rind meets earth.
We thump shells and pinch stems,
judging their bitter ripeness.
A longing to return to a warmer past
pulls against our shoulders,
each step a weighty glance back.
The drizzle slows and we retreat
to the firepit’s shelter.
Cindered remains scraped together,
embers singeing our faces and knees.
Makkara* skins sizzling, pop open,
warm breaths released.
We burn tongues in our haste,
juices dripping down wrists.
Marshmallows toasted brown
then, we hesitate too long,
burnt to sugary charcoal.
It’s easier when we say nothing,
lick sticky fingers and listen
to the fire’s crackling retort.
Closed off in the car,
wood smoke lingers on wool.
It’s a slow…
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