Today's poem is by Samantha Leigh Futhey
("Night" in Finnish)
Two vowels held like loose cartilage
to bones once broken, still unhealed.
Yö, not the slap of talo, (our homes
separated by seas), swipe of nainen,
(the women we pretended to be),
knock and hiss of rakasta, (the love
we hungered for, never found). Our
adopted mothers instructed us, young girls
swooping towards adulthood: Don't go
to Mussalo harbor, especially at night,
walk purposefully under streetlights,
pretend misunderstanding if Finnish men,
at bus stops or outside bars,
call out to you. Foolish swallows we were,
tempting the long, dusky twilight
of Finnish summers husked from snow.
We billowed out at night, perfumed
with dew. We feared no one; not
ghosts looming from boulders,
moss bloomed and bog muffled, not
the seagulls cawing their soft warnings.
Not even the sea, who's roar echoed distantly,
a murmur we ignored when, Boating above
Kotka harbor, we should have heard. We
didn't know then the message embedded
in yö: your howls for help are too low to hear,
so cover yourself in brambles and birches.
Be the pheasant that steps, looks,
steps, looks behind her and listens
for sounds beneath the sea
drumming the shore, murmuring night.
Copyright © 2017 Samantha Leigh Futhey All rights reserved
from Zone 3
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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