14. S’More

On a cool August evening in the San Juan Mountains

we gathered around a chiminea to make s’mores.

 

Chocolate and graham crackers were no match

for our family’s flaming marshmallows.

 

The kids shouted how best to roast puffed sugar.

We smushed sticky fingers into the bag

 

grabbed our prey

perfected our technique

 

poked sticks into the fire over and over again.

“We should sing, ‘Kumbaya,’” said Mom.

 

We all laughed.

It didn’t seem like a time for camp songs.

 

We needed sweet summer blues

during this, our last vacation together.

 

Mom reached her stick into the flames,

her short, marshmallow hair bleached white

 

by chemo. The fire of her cancer contained,

for now,

 

in a vessel we could still jab

with prayers,

 

devouring each bright moment,

as if her bag of marshmallows would never run out.