First Day in Finland

    “First Day in Finland,” New Era, Jan. 2009, 49

    First Day in Finland

    The house is canopied in green,

    and the rain doesn’t fall to the ground.

    It sifts through the leaves,

    making a hollow sound

    as it falls on the ferns and gooseberry bushes

    that are under the eaves

    and the dripline of the trees.

    I can hear the roots drinking and swelling,

    grateful for the cool rain

    that feeds them—

    rain from the Baltic Sea that keeps me inside

    against Grandma’s windowsill

    with damp morning glory clinging to the window panes

    and a whole country waiting outside.

    I’m stuck in the white-washed cottage,

    filled with the warm breath of blueberry tarts

    and music from 1950s Hollywood playing in the dining room.

    Grandma is at the table, humming

    and making cloth bodies

    for the heads, hands, and feet

    made of clay and spread out on the table

    like a doll’s morgue.

    The Finnish/English dictionary sits open

    on the table next to my Grandma.

    I sit down across from her—

    she smiles.

    I relate to the gooseberry bushes

    And love rain.

    Photo by Lane V. Erickson; do not copy