Rumi Cans Tomatoes Late at Night

It was nearly 3 a.m. and the last
of the tomatoes were still boiling
in their jars the big black canning pot.

I wanted to go to sleep. “My friend,”
Rumi said, “The Sufi is the friend
of the present moment. To say

tomorrow is not our way.”
“Oh,” I said, thinking tomorrow
seemed like a great idea. “Look,” he said.

“There are still five more minutes
before the quarts are done. Let’s
walk to the pond and drink the moon’s reflection.”

“Really?” I squeaked, though I tried
to sound nonchalant. “I mean really, Rumi?
Couldn’t we just sit at the counter

and wait for the timer to ring?”
Rumi smiled. “Yes. To praise
is to praise how one surrenders

to the emptiness.” I was not sure
what he meant, but it did sound nice
just to sit, and I was glad he agreed.

After all, I wanted to please him, and would
have gone to the pond to drink the moon
if that’s what he desired. In five minutes,

we turned off the heat and in silence,
we waited five minutes more
for the pressure to equalize inside the jars.

Rumi stood at the counter with blue-handled tongs
and pulled seven jars from the water. Red.
Summer red. Roma red. Oh such red.

The seeds inside looked like tiny constellations.
“Every object,” he said, “every being is a jar of delight.
I mean you, too.” But I was already nodding my head

and could barely hear as his words came through the steam.


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