Malibu Before the Woolsey Fire

At Nicholas Pond in the seventh month
of your tenancy

I hardly notice the terrain,
gravelly, fissured, arterial,

the way it wants rain
and the rain wants a mouth

and the mouth wants something
to devour,

the creatural way you remind me
I am not alone,

every footstep kicking up dust,
the sky so blue it hurts to look,

swaths of yellowing tarweed
where we expect nothing

but this, this—
the way you want to be born.

Stacie Cassarino is the author of the poetry collection Zero at the Bone (2009), which received the Lambda Literary Award and the Audre Lorde Award, and a critical work, Culinary Poetics and Edible Images in Twentieth-Century American Literature (2018). She teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.