and in the shop…
“Vision on Platform 2”,
“Finns and Amazons”
“Writing with Mercury”,
“Maria Breaks Her Silence”,
Regina: Coteau Books
We will tell our stories in wood,
take turns splitting and stacking
lengths of poplar and birch. Each log,
stick and twig is a story we must tell.
We will tell our stories in fire,
open the iron door of the sauna stove,
rake the ashes, wring papers under kindling,
throw in a couple of lucifers, watch the flames spread.
We will loosen our throats, prime our tongues
with rye whisky, the kind we couldn’t get on leave
in Europe. Only ale, wine, grappa, gin. Six long years.
Cards, booze, anything to never quite forget.
We will tell our stories in water
on hot stones, let steam release the memories
we can bear to reveal only to each other. Truth skinned.
What we had to witness, what our weapons did,
how we survived, full of guilt and hard
need, empty of boasting. Any tears
will join this steam and this we swear:
no one else will ever hear our words.
Mother of all steam,
heal us, take away the stench.
When the bottle is empty, the fire dead,
may the stars cool our skins, the fireflies
rekindle some of what we’ve lost
as we hold each other up
on the path toward the lamp
in our mother’s kitchen window.