Night Fishing in Eikelandsosen

To LK, returned from long years in Cairo and Beirut

We cast our lines into the fjord at midnight—
How can anyone sleep in this drawn-out glow?

The hollow-eyed mackerel live long
but can’t stop swimming.
Hooked, their velvet flesh gleams silver,
quickly fades to gray.

You dream sometimes of going south again:
There, reefs are jeweled with swimmers turquoise and gold.
The summer night is long and pillowed,
the dawn just one short breath.

But this is home: dark valleys
where stern-browed women’s words
can curdle milk, the hoard of Viking gold
beneath the church, the secret song
the fox sings to the lamb before he bites.