They are so red, the peppers,
it is impossible not to admire them
before I put them on the grate
to char their skins and sweeten their flesh.
I think of all the other hands that touched
these fruits, and I thank them: whoever planted
the seed and watered the plant, whoever
weeded and hoed and broke the green stem.
I think of all the other women around the world
speaking languages I will never know who,
in these weeks of autumn, are also standing
beside a fire, turning the peppers to roast them evenly,
all of us breathing the same smoky scent.
All of us rolling up our sleeves as we prepare
to pull off the blackened skin. All of us relieved
when the seeds fall out easily. All morning the house
smells of sunshine and basil, red peppers and gratitude.
I think of all of us doing the work to feed the people
we love, our knives keeping time against wooden boards,
our hands sticky and red with devotion.