First Day in Finland
January 2009

“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