The best excuse for chili
to warm the blood,
fumigate the kitchen
with its teary pungency,

to leave us breathless
with tingling tongues
and flaming vapors,
volcanic in our throats.

The first crisp morning
we go pillaging the garden
for vegetation left from rabbits,
haul a stewpot from the attic.

No recipe, just intuition
and a bowl of kidney beans,
whatever beast is handy,
tomatoes with their pecked tattoos,

onions, peppers, garlic fried
in bacon fat – the rest tossed in,
cooked until the spoon melts.