hand outstretched 
inadvertently towards 
a burning brush pile
that was the catalyst for the discovery,
a gloved hand of a mother,
my cousin,
clearing twigs, stacking branches,
transubstantiating excess nature
into energy and ash and
around her home,
a extended gloved hand holding
the tiniest discovery–
a species of salamander
scurrying from destruction,
covered in particulate woodchips and earth
resting frozen from fear
in this protected, protecting hand
displaying it in admiration and curiousity
for me to photograph, document
to send away for identification
in a burning moment of connection
with ourselves and the other
things in our environment

once recorded, those grey gloves
move towards the ground
to release our newfound friend
back to freedom
and then to tend to
the flames flickering in the afternoon breeze
and the branches left to burn

eventually the pile will disappear,
the fire die
and the gloves come off
to return indoors, grasping her son
near her breast for an evening meal
and those hands will soothe and stroke
his skin, holding him until sleep sets in
so he, too, can be released
and she, touching skin to skin,
for a moment
can let go