These Small Fires, Autumn Vigils

Blankets over the tomatoes, frost creeping in. Mountains in the background, glazed with snow. I get to see the mountains every day from my kitchen table. They remind me how decent and steadfast the world is, especially this time of year. These chill, brassy twilights just ring inside me. Like tinnitus in the heart. Then I see the leaves matted against the front door, layered in the overgrown lawn, impossibly bright and warm in color, like scraps of fire. And somewhere real fire, the flare of a candle, its thin, wavering smoke. My neighborhood smells of a thousand small fires, autumn vigils. On every table, the squat, sacrificial body of a pumpkin.