Finnish Women

rip nostalgic salt from the sea,
cull gulls with their tongues,
sing folk landscape sagas as birch

hearts melt in gold. They frame
a lumbering polar day with the wind-tossed
ends of a frayed scarf.

Tundra anatomy gleaned in the cool gray
of their eyes, the faded ferns
of their faces. Bog water puckers

their fingers as they break cloudberries.
Green moss hangs from pines—
their hearts caught

on a branch, torn by reindeer. Their lovers
and children lie in beds, licked
to sleep like ice pickled water.

When they charge into the wilderness,
magpies cry at their approach, look
for silver glinting their necks.

But they carry no silver—
necklaces of herring bones
coil their clavicles,

frosted cheeks painted with wild
blueberry juice, minds steeled to bears
rumbling beyond their borders.

In glacial meadows, they face the Arctic wind
without a flinch as the sky rains
green viscera of light.