I spent Saturday exhaling embers from a Friday night sitting
around Ed’s fire pit. When men get together, they cough up
truths only revealed through smoke and mirrors that reflect
themselves, and the burning of wood and grilling of steaks
creates a camaraderie that doubles as good eats and therapy.
I like my meat very well done and since the Bible states that’s
what the Lord will tell you if you make it to Heaven, I can
accept being shamed for desiring a more charred sustenance.
Flavor and faith are subjective, but one should never allow
another man’s tastes to dictate his pallet. We grub and
philosophize into the night under stars that struggle to be
celebrated and seen because a surplus of streetlights creates
an artificial beauty, but a cold drink and breaking bread with
a brother in these conditions is still a religious experience,
a backyard kind of communion. Ed talks of making his pit
smokeless and I express wanting a new teaching job, and
the ash in our hair and glowing grey in our beards is our
résumé showing all that we’ve learned.
Daniel Romo is the author of Bum Knees and Grieving Sunsets (FlowerSong Press 2023), Moonlighting as an Avalanche (Tebot Bach 2021), Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), and others. His writing and photography can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Yemassee, and elsewhere. He received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and he lives, teaches, and rides his bikes in Long Beach, CA. More at danieljromo.com.
Photography by: Joshua Newton